News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th June 2014

Commencing

Ancient Lives, New Discoveries uses the latest scientific techniques to shed new light on ancient cultures, showcasing recent research on Egyptian and Sudanese mummified remains. The exhibition uses state-of-the-art technology to virtually explore inside mummy cases and examine the bodies underneath the wrappings of 8 people who lived in the Nile Valley thousands of years ago. The most recent scans undertaken have used the new generation of medical CT scanners, capable of producing data of unprecedented high resolution. The transformation of this data into 3D visualisations has been achieved with volume graphics software usually used in other fields such as car engineering. Each mummy has accompanying large-screen visualisations that journey into the body, through the intact wrappings to reveal the remains, skeleton and the secrets of mummification. The individuals selected cover a time-span of over 4000 years, from the Predynastic period to the Christian era, from sites in Egypt and the Sudan. The emphasis is on revealing different aspects of living and dying in the ancient Nile Valley through these individuals and also through contextual objects such as amulets, canopic jars, musical instruments and items of food. The individuals include: a female adult temple singer from Thebes, mummified around 900BC, whose body reflects the highest level of mummification available at its period, involving the ritual placement of amulets and other magical trappings on the body; and a man of high status, from around 1st to 3rd centuries AD, mummified in distinctive manner, with arms, legs, fingers and toes separately wrapped, facial features painted on the wrappings, natural hair left uncovered, small fragments of gold leaf still preserved on the external surface, and decorative trappings added externally. British Museum until 30th November.

Mondrian And Colour is the first major exhibition to consider the significance of colour during the early career of the 20th century Dutch artist. The exhibition traces Piet Mondrian's use of colour as he moved from depicting reality in studies of the Dutch landscape to pioneer something completely new and controversial in abstraction. In addition to his influence on the development of abstraction in painting, Mondrian's influence stretched to the worlds of fashion and design. Bringing together around 50 paintings, the show demonstrates that Mondrian's abstract works were not simply mathematical exercises in form, but also expressed his search for a new universal harmony. Colour underpinned Mondrian's work, from the early days painting landscapes in the Netherlands, to the later works where colour was separated from its function of creating shading or volume. His most famous works, the 'grids' use simple lines and the primary colours red, yellow and blue to create this 'universal harmony', separating colour and subject from reality, transforming the material world into something spiritual. Major works in the exhibition include 'The Red Mill', 'Composition with Red, Blue, Black, Yellow and Grey' and 'Composition with Blue and Yellow'. Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate, until 21st September.

M. F. Husain: Master Of Modern Indian Painting features the work of one of the most celebrated and internationally recognised Indian artists of the 20th century. Maqbool Fida Husain, known as M. F. Husain, began his career as a painter of cinema hoardings. Using freehand drawing and vibrant colour, he depicted Indian subject matter in the style of contemporary European art movements, particularly Cubism. Indian Civilization is an ambitious series of 8 triptych paintings, commissioned as a tribute to the richness of India's history. Each panel explores a different theme, together creating a personal vision of India, what Husain called 'a museum without walls'. Interweaving religious and symbolic iconography with historic figures and events, the paintings also incorporate memories from the artist's own life. Husain marked the ceremonial beginning of the series by painting the Hindu deity Ganesha, represented as a four-armed man with an elephant head, shown with an ancient terracotta goddess figure at his side. He celebrated three ruling dynasties from India's long and tumultuous history, placing the ancient Mauryan civilization centrally between two invading rulers, the Muslim Mughal dynasty and the British Raj. The works capture the colour and spirit of Indian festivals, whose ancient celebrations and rituals reflect the passing of time and show the enduring role of religion and tradition in Indian culture. Husain reflected on the domestic lives of India's citizens, showing the daily routines of ordinary urban families, with the major religions of India represented, as generations share their homes and their faith. Victoria & Albert Museum until 27th July.

Continuing

Mammoths: Ice Age Giants offers a journey through the world of some of the largest creatures ever to have walked the earth. The exhibition provides a glimpse into the Ice Age world of mammoths, mastodons and their relatives, through life-sized models, original skeletons, skull casts, fossil jaws, teeth and tusks. Its centrepiece is the most complete woolly mammoth ever found, the first time the one month old infant has been shown in Western Europe. The baby mammoth is 85cm tall and 130cm long, similar in size to a large dog. She was discovered in the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia in 2007, and is thought to have died 42,000 years ago. Her body was buried in wet clay and mud, which then froze, preserving it until she was found by reindeer herder. She is thought to have been healthy when she died, so scientists still research her to understand mammoth biology and behaviour. Although she has lost most of her woolly undercoat and hair, most of her body remains intact, and remnants of her mother's milk are still in her stomach. In addition to the actual baby mammoth there are models of a fully grown woolly mammoth, the spiral-tusked Columbian mammoth, their island-dwelling relative the dwarf mammoth, the mastodon, the sabre-tooth cat and the giant cave bear. The exhibition charts the key differences between mammoths and mastodons, revealing that mastodons were shorter and stockier than mammoths, with thicker bones and differently shaped tusks, as well as making comparisons with their present-day descendant, the elephant. It also explores the animals' social behaviour and ecology based on fossil evidence. In addition, the display examines how these creatures evolved, considers how they finally went extinct, and unearths the latest research into whether they can ever be resurrected. Natural History Museum until 7th September.

Treasures From The Royal Archives marks the centenary of the establishment of a permanent home for an unparalleled collection of documents relating to the history of the British Monarchy. From diaries and personal correspondence to account books and speeches, the Archives record and reflect some of the most significant moments in British history, and provide an insight into the lives of monarchs and their families. It was the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, and her legacy of over 60 years of correspondence, that prompted the creation of an archive for documents relating to the Royal Family and the Royal Household. Documents pre-dating Queen Victoria's reign, were gradually added, including some belonging to James II, and the exiled Stuarts, and papers relating to the current Sovereign and the Royal Household continue to be added today. Among the highlights on display for the first time are the title deed for Buckingham Palace, dated 20 April 1763, bearing George III's wax seal, recording the purchase for the sum of £28,000, by the King to accommodate his growing family of 15 children; a household account book belonging to Princess Elizabeth, later Elizabeth I, recording the payments made to servants during her residency at Hatfield Palace in 1551, bearing her signature on each page; a letter written in 1728 to his father by the 7 year old Bonnie Prince Charlie, from Palazzo Muti, the Stuart residence in Rome, which appears to be the young boy's response to a reprimand; a love letter from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria during their engagement, including the lines "your image fills my whole soul. Even in my dreams I never imagined that I should find so much love on earth"; and a message of condolence sent to Queen Victoria by Abraham Lincoln, following the death of Prince Albert from typhoid in December 1861. Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle, until 25th January.

Wedding Dresses 1775 - 2014 traces the development of the fashionable white dress and its interpretation by leading couturiers and designers, offering a panorama of fashion over the last two centuries. Displayed chronologically, the exhibition features over 80 romantic, glamorous and extravagant wedding outfits, together with accessories including jewellery, shoes, garters, veils, wreaths, hats and corsetry, as well as fashion sketches and personal photographs. Garments worn by bridegrooms and attendants are also included in the display. The exhibition investigates the histories of the garments, revealing personal details about the lives of the wearers, giving an intimate insight into their occupations, circumstances and fashion choices. Among the highlights are a silk satin court dress from 1775; a 'polonaise' style brocade gown with straw bergere hat from 1780; a copy of a Paris model designed by Paquin Lalanne et Cie made by Stern Brothers of New York in 1890; the Norman Hartnell dress made for Margaret Whigham (later Duchess of Argyll) for her marriage to Charles Sweeny in 1933; the Charles James ivory silk satin dress worn by Barbara 'Baba' Beaton for her marriage to Alec Hambro in 1934; the embroidered silk coat design by Anna Valentine and for The Duchess of Cornwall at the blessing after her marriage to The Prince of Wales in 2005; and examples of innovative and unconventional wedding outfits designed by Gareth Pugh and Pam Hogg for the weddings of Katie Shillingford in 2011 and Mary Charteris in 2012. Victoria & Albert Museum until 15th March.

Kenneth Clark - Looking For Civilisation explores the impact of the art historian, public servant and broadcaster, widely seen as one of the most influential figures in British art of the 20th century. The exhibition examines Kenneth Clark's role as a patron and collector, art historian, director of the National Gallery and broadcaster, and celebrates his contribution to bringing art to a more popular audience. It focuses predominantly on Clark's activities in the 1930s and 1940s, when he was a leading supporter and promoter of contemporary British art and artists. Using his own wealth to help artists, Clark would not only buy works from those he admired, but also provide financial support to allow them to work freely, offered commissions, and worked to ensure artists' works entered prestigious collections. The artists he favoured included the Bloomsbury Group, the painters of the Euston Road School, and leading figures Henry Moore, Victor Pasmore, John Piper and Graham Sutherland. With the outbreak of war in 1939, Clark's private patronage became a state project when he instigated the War Artists Advisory Committee to employ artists to record the war. Through the commissioning of such iconic works as Moore's 'Shelter Drawings' and Sutherland's and Piper's images of the Blitz he ensured that the neo-Romantic spirit that those artists' work embodied became the dominant art of the period. From work by the British artists he championed to highlights from his own eclectic collection, the exhibition of around 230 objects includes works by Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland, drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, drawings by Aubrey Beardsley, prints by Hokusai, and paintings by Constable, Degas, Renoir, Turner, Seurat and Cezanne, plus textiles, china and medieval illuminations. Tate Britain until 10th August.

Otto Dix provides a rare opportunity to see a selection from the series of prints 'Der Krieg' (The War) by one of the artists who revealed the vision of the apocalypse that was the First World War. The 19 prints on show were made by Otto Dix 10 years after the beginning of the War, presumably because it was only then that he could return to the experiences that he went through in the trenches. The prints were ground-breaking, through the impact of the images that Dix conjured, and also in the unique combination of multiple print-making techniques that he employed. Dix dramatises the atmosphere of physical and moral decay: decomposing bodies, shelled soldiers, and surreally empty landscapes. When the Nazis came to power in Germany, they regarded Dix as a degenerate artist and had him sacked from his post as an art teacher at the Dresden Academy. Dix's paintings 'The Trench' and 'War Cripples' were exhibited in the state-sponsored Munich 1937 exhibition of degenerate art, Entartete Kunst, and were later burned. Prints in the exhibition include 'Stormtroops advancing under a gas attack', 'Mealtime in the Trenches ','Corpse of a horse', 'Collapsed trenches', 'Front-line Soldier in Brussels', 'Dead sentry in the trenches' and perhaps best known of all, 'Skull'. De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, until 27th July.

The Years Of La Dolce Vita features a collection of images made by the original paparazzo, whose shots changed the face of photojournalism forever. The 1950s and 1960s represent a golden era in Italian film, when directors Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Federico Fellini produced some of their most famous movies. The term paparazzo was taken from Fellini's La Dolce Vita, the name of a character inspired by a number of real-life photojournalists then active in Rome, including Marcello Geppetti, from whose astonishing archive of over one million images most of the works on display are drawn. Many Hollywood stars and directors were lured to Rome in the 1960s, where epic productions such as Ben-Hur and Cleopatra were shot. In the evenings, the focus of Rome's movie culture, as well as the lenses of its paparazzi, shifted to the bars and restaurants lining the city's exclusive Via Veneto. The presence of celebrities like John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Charlton Heston, Elizabeth Taylor, Anita Ekberg, Kirk Douglas, Brigitte Bardot, Raquel Welch, Marcello Mastroianni and Audrey Hepburn transformed Rome's streets into 'an open-air film set'. Geppetti has been described as 'the most undervalued photographer in history', and comparisons drawn between his work and that of Cartier-Bresson and Weegee. Juxtaposed with Geppetti's images of Rome's real-life dolce vita are a number of behind-the-scenes shots taken during the filming of La Dolce Vita by its cameraman, Arturo Zavattini, candid photographs that capture an atmosphere of relaxed creativity on the set of Fellini's landmark film. Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39A Canonbury Square, London N1, until 29th June.

Concluding

Edward Lear In Greece features collection of watercolours by the Victorian writer, poet and artist. Although now perhaps best known for his limericks and nonsense verse, Edward Lear was also a superb zoological draughtsman, a talented musician and a celebrated landscape artist. Lear began to draw commercially at the age of 16 and his illustrations of birds quickly brought him to the attention of an affluent patron. He then turned his attention to landscape drawings and moved to Rome, after which he kept travelling until his death, producing over 10,000 sketches inspired by his journeys. This display highlights Lear's draughtsmanship and versatility, examining his enchanting depictions of Greek landscapes. It includes both highly finished studio watercolours, such as 'Athens', and sketches drawn in situ and annotated with Lear's notes about details of the landscape and weather. Lear's sketches, in particular, are now widely admired for the elegance and precision of his drawing, and for their vivid and spontaneous evocation of place. Unlike many other artists of the time, he was as captivated by the recent history and contemporary life of Greece as by the country's antique past. Lear travelled widely throughout Greece, from Athens and the Peloponnese to the remote mountains of the Epirus region in the north west, which are represented in the 'Suli' watercolours. Lear wrote of his aim to travel to and paint sites not previously represented by other artists, including Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain of the Orthodox Church, and widely depicted in the display, and the island of Corfu, where he lived and worked on and off for a decade. Scottish National Gallery until 18th June.

Scottish Gold offers a unique opportunity to learn about the precious metal as part of the natural history of Scotland and examine the close relationship with it over millennia. The exhibition explores the use of gold in Scotland from prehistoric times to the present, offering an informative look at the history and cultural significance of the often valuable and highly sought-after precious metal. Focussing on the occurrence of gold in Scotland and Scottish gold mining, the show also covers the natural history of gold, the first use of gold coinage in Scotland and the infamous Darien disaster of the late 1600s. Amongst the treasures on display are the 'cloth of gold' from the tomb of Robert the Bruce; a multitude of Scottish gold coins including a bonnet piece of James V; Bronze and Iron Age gold torcs, including the hoard from Law Farm, Morayshire; a gold ampulla used at the Scottish Coronation of Charles I; the King's Gold Cup from the Leith races of 1751; Queen Victoria's gold chain and badge of the Order of the Thistle; and ten of the largest gold nuggets found in Scottish rivers. Contemporary items include an 18 carat solid gold quaich made by Scottish goldsmith Graham Stewart; and a Millennium gold medal produced by Malcolm Appleby for the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, until 15th June.

Veronese: Magnificence In Renaissance Venice is devoted to one of the most renowned and sought-after artists working in Venice in the 16th century. Paolo Caliari, known as Veronese, was a virtuoso and a craftsman, creating works ranging from complex frescoes to altarpieces, devotional paintings, mythological, allegorical and historical pictures, and portraits. His works adorned churches, patrician palaces, villas and public buildings throughout the Veneto region, and are inseparable from the idea of the opulence and grandeur of the Republic of Venice at that time. This exhibition of around 50 of his works brings together portraits, altarpieces, and paintings representing the very peak of Veronese's output at every stage of his career. Highlights include 'The Martyrdom of Saint George', 'The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine', 'Family of Darius before Alexander', 'Portrait of a Gentleman', and 'Portrait of a Woman, known as the Bella Nani'. Works are reunited in the exhibition for the first time in hundreds of years, including 'Mars and Venus United by Love' and 'Four Allegories of Love'; two companion altarpieces painted for the church of San Benedetto Po near Mantua: 'The Virgin and Child with Saints Anthony Abbot and Paul the Hermit' and 'Consecration of Saint Nicholas', displayed together for only the second time since the 18th century; and two versions of 'Adoration of the Kings' painted for different churches in the same year that have never been seen together since they were in Veronese's studio. Veronese's mastery of colour, space and light, and his feeling for beauty, for opulence and grace, captured the imagination of countless artists and art lovers, and the work of Van Dyck, Rubens, Watteau, Tiepolo and Delacroix depend upon his example. National Gallery until 15th June.