Private View held by Richard Andrews
Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes And Discoveries celebrates the backroom work of art gallery scientists, conservators and historians. Using modern scientific methods, including infrared imaging, X-ray images, electron microscopy and mass spectrometry they provide insights into the materials used by artists, studio practice and the ways paintings can change over time. The exhibition explores this work by presenting the varied stories behind more than 40 paintings, divided into six categories: Deception and Deceit, from innocent misrepresentation to cunning forgery; Transformations and Modifications, revealing secrets lying underneath the paint; Mistakes, when the experts got it wrong, and how their mistakes were discovered; Secrets and Conundrums, solving puzzles and secrets hidden in Old Master paintings; and Redemption and Recovery, how paintings are restored to their former glory. The display features works by Raphael, Durer, Gossaert, Rembrandt, Botticelli and others. Among the works on view are: 'Woman at a Window', a provocative Renaissance depiction of a woman, which was dramatically altered in the 19th century to satisfy more restrained Victorian tastes, with the girl's hair changed from blonde to brunette, her expression made more innocent, and her bodice rendered less revealing; 'Portrait of Alexander Mornauer', by an unknown German artist that was altered to resemble a work by the more famous and collectable Hans Holbein, with a layer of blue paint applied over the original brown background, and the style of the sitter's hat altered; and 'An Allegory', originally thought to be a companion to Botticelli's 'Venus and Mars', but revealed as a pastiche, painted by a follower in the style of the master. National Gallery until 12th September.
William Morris: A Sense Of Place examines the domestic life, design work, writings and political beliefs of the Father of the Arts & Crafts Movement. William Morris's childhood homes were key to forming his precocious sense of place and the love of nature that underpinned his subsequent life and thinking. Material illustrating his adult life, from lodgings shared with Edward Burne-Jones at Red Lion Square; his first married home at Red House, which became the focus of creativity for Morris and his friends; his country retreat at Kelmscott Manor in the Cotswolds; and his final home at Kelmscott House in Hammersmith, shows how his domestic environment formed an important backdrop for his creativity, and the formulation of his ideas about society. The industrial society into which Britain had evolved by the mid 19th century represented inequality, exploitation and ugliness to Morris, setting him on the path to Socialism and the foundation of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. Designs and samples, textiles, books, and photographs from public and private collections illustrate Morris's life and work.
LawnPaper is an environmental etching for the lawns around the house. Patterns based on wallpaper designs by William Morris have been created in the grass through a process of selective shading and trimming by artist Steve Messam.
Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, until 17th October. (The LawnPaper design is expected to grow out by the beginning of August)
Florence Nightingale Museum, which celebrates the life and work of 'the Lady with the Lamp', has reopened following a £1.4m redevelopment, designed by Kossman de Jong, marking the centenary of her death. Situated in the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital, on the site where Florence Nightingale established her first Training School for Nurses, the museum tells the real story of the woman behind the legend, as well as how modern nursing began. It does this via three pavilions, focusing on her Victorian childhood, the Crimean War, where the legend of the Lady with the Lamp was created, and her later years as an ardent campaigner for health reform, with particular reference to the British army. The Museum also celebrates the profession of nursing, and explores Nightingale's legacy in today's nursing practice, with interactive audiovisual exhibits. It features an unparalleled collection of over 2,000 items of 'Nightingalia', with highlights including the writing slate she used as a child; the medicine chest she took to the Crimean war; a rare Register of Nurses, which lists the women who served under her in the military hospitals in Turkey and the Crimea; an actual lantern used in the Scutari hospital in Turkey (completely different from the popular image); a black dress worn by her, its colour and style chosen to reflect the serious attitude she had to her work; a pewter soldier's plate, with painted image and inscription, reflecting the affection in which she was held by the troops; an original copy of Notes On Nursing, one of her most important publications, from 1860; and her pet Owl Athena, who travelled everywhere in her pocket. Florence Nightingale Museum, St Thomas' Hospital, London, continuing.
Ernesto Neto: The Edges Of The World comprises a series of immersive installations. Best known for his sensuous sculptures, the Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto creates site-specific installations with an abstract, biomorphic quality - evocative of skin and interior body systems - that investigate the way in which spatial alterations transform the relationships between people. Visitors experience a sequence of interlinked spaces that merge sculpture and architecture. They can wander through fabric installations, cushioned soft spaces, ascend stairs into artworks overhead, and following on from Neto's signature 'nave' works, venture barefoot through an all-encompassing nylon vessel. Outdoors, whether submerged in a sculptural pool, or balancing on an undulating path, visitors find themselves becoming active participants in the artworks.
The New Decor is an international survey of some 30 contemporary artists, who explore interior design as a means of engaging with changes in contemporary culture. By reconfiguring and reinventing the familiar objects of domestic life, these artists look beyond design and function to create provocative sculptures and installations. They are concerned with the evolution of interior and exterior environments, shedding light on their experiences, asking the viewer to consider their own relationship to the spaces they inhabit, and look again at objects they may take for granted. Artists represented include: Martin Boyce, Los Carpinteros, Jimmie Durham, Elmgreen & Dragset, Gelitin, Mona Hatoum, Jim Lambie, Sarah Lucas, Ernesto Neto, Ugo Rondinone, Doris Salcedo, Rosemary Trockel, Tatiana Trouve and Franz West. In French the word decor refers to stage sets as well as interior design, and in a similar spirit the works in this exhibition explore an arena between practicality and imagination, theatre and everyday life.
Hayward Gallery until 5th September.
Surreal Friends: Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo And Kati Horna explores the extraordinary lives of three women on the fringes of the Surrealist movement, who met and became friends in exile in Mexico in the 1940s. The Second World War brought Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna, an English painter, a Spanish painter and a Hungarian photographer, together in Mexico City. The borders of Mexico were opened to all refugees on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, and anyone of Spanish ancestry who had been compelled to leave war-torn Europe. The exhibition explores the way the women influenced each other personally and artistically, bringing together key works by all three women for the first time, many of which have never been seen in public in the Britain. The show highlights the thematic similarities, particularly between Carrington and Varo, such as the harmony of the universe, the origins of creation, alchemy, the esoteric and the supernatural, whilst providing a comprehensive reassessment of each of their work. The exhibition comprises 45 paintings by Carrington, who was influenced fairy tales, myths and religion, and produced some of the most vivid and fantastical scenes in 20th century art, including 'The Giantess, or the Guardian of the Egg'; 21 paintings by Varo, with dreamlike themes that are evidence of her closeness with Carrington, including 'The Creation of Birds'; and 66 photographs by Horna, including portraits of the inmates of a mental asylum and surreal montages, plus a portrait of Robert Capa - accompanied by a portrait of Horna by Capa. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 12th September.
Myths And Monsters takes visitors on a journey from ancient times, when legends of bizarre beasts first became embedded in different cultures, to the present day, when science has often unravelled fact from fiction. The exhibition looks at creatures from a mythological, historical and scientific perspective, exploring the vivid scope of the human imagination and the limits of animal physiology. The mythological dragon, cyclops, chimera and yeti are brought to life as animatronic models, whilst real specimens and scientific fact are presented alongside these creatures, offering a rational counterpoint. For instance, the 'yeti scalp', borrowed for analysis by Sir Edmund Hillary during his Tibetan expeditions in the1960s, has the truth of its origins revealed. Among the other mysteries explored are: the dragon's differing reputation in East and West; the complex history and magical powers of the white-horned unicorn; the legend of the one-eyed Cyclops; and the ever-elusive Loch Ness monster. The chimera of Greek mythology, a fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, body of a she-goat and tail of a dragon, is contrasted with geneticists' use of the term to denote any organism containing genetically different tissues, giving this creature present day resonances. Views of the world have changed dramatically since stories of extraordinary creatures first filtered back from unfamiliar continents, as items from the permanent collection reveal. The Japanese merman and the duck-billed platypus are examples of a fictitious creature thought to be real, and a genuine specimen thought to be a fake. Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London SE 23, until 5th September.
Chiswick House Gardens have reopened after a £12m restoration programme, which has recovered the original vistas and design, and repaired and restored the statuary and garden buildings. Spread over 65 acres, the gardens are a site of international importance as the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement. They were originally created by Lord Burlington and William Kent, who worked on them throughout the 1720's and 1730's, as a setting for Chiswick House, the first and one of the finest examples of neo-Palladian design in England. Highlights of the restoration are the planting of over 1,600 trees, including trees propagated from the original 18th century cedars of Lebanon; the opening up of historic views from the Classic Bridge; the complete restoration of the Grade 1 listed 19th century conservatory, which houses a rare and internationally important collection of camellias; the planting of native trees and shrubs in the Northern Wilderness; and the restoration of the Walled Gardens. Outstanding features of the garden include: The Cascade, an Italian renaissance-style waterfall designed by Burlington and Kent dating from around 1738; Exedra, a lawn lined by alternating cypresses and stone urns closed by a semicircular dark yew hedge, forming a backdrop to ancient Roman and 18th century sculpture; The Raised Terrace, planted with sweet shrubs including roses and honeysuckle, which offers celebrated views of the Villa; and The Italian Garden, designed by Lewis Kennedy and laid out in 1814, an example of the 19th century experiments in colour theory. Chiswick House And Gardens, London W4, continuing.
China: Journey To The East offers a picture of one of the world's most important and influential civilisations. The exhibition of over 100 objects explores 3,000 years of Chinese history and culture through 5 themes: Technology, Leisure, Food, Festivals and Language and Writing. It presents key enduring Chinese inventions such as the abacus (the world's first calculator), the compass, cast iron, paper, printing, paper money, the crossbow, the umbrella, acupuncture, gunpowder and silk and porcelain manufacture. Objects provide insight into the three main Chinese belief systems: Daoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, and shed light on the colourful Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), and the important Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The exhibition investigates China's writing system, and its development as an art form through objects that range from a writing brush and ink box from the Ming Dynasty, to a jade seal with a dragon carved in the top from 1764, and include oracle bones, a pillow wishing peace and a tile with instructions on how to behave. 2,000 years of play in China is reflected in models of figures playing board games from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 221) through to shadow puppets from the 20th century. In China food and drink traditionally play a vital role in ritual, belief and superstition, and exhibits include ritual wine and food vessels, Ming model funerary foods, rice cultivation and tea cultivation images, chopsticks, rice bowls, jam tarts from a cemetery in the desert, and drunken figures of famous people such as the poet Li Bo. York Art Gallery until 8th September.
The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,250 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from around 11,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Stephen Chambers and David Chipperfield with the theme Raw. Highlights include new works by Antoni Tapies, Ed Ruscha, Michael Craig-Martin, Gillian Ayres, Sean Scully, David Hockney and Tracey Emin; plus artists' books featured for the first time. The star work is probably David Mach's 'Silver Streak', a 10ft tall gorilla made of coat hangers. There is also a memorial gallery dedicated to showing the works of the late Craigie Aitchison, Jim Cadbury-Brown, John Craxton, Freddy Gore, Donald Hamilton Fraser, Flavia Irwin and Michael Kidner, plus 3 leaping hare sculptures by Barry Flanagan in the courtyard. The Royal Academy of Arts until 22nd August.
Beauty And Power: Renaissance And Baroque Bronzes From The Peter Marino Collection features 30 French and Italian sculptures dating from 1550 to 1750. The collection includes masterpieces by some of the greatest sculptors of their age. The works on view show the gamut of human experience, from 'Samson and the Philistine', attributed to Baccio Bandinelli, to Antonio Montauti's seductive 'Diana'. Highlights of the exhibition include: the French sculptor Corneille van Cleve's masterpiece 'Bacchus and Ariadne'; two figurative groups by the Florentine sculptor Giovanni Battista Foggini, 'Apollo and Marsyas' and 'David and Goliath'; Ferdinando Tacca's 'Hercules and Iole'; Robert Le Lorrain's 'Andromeda'; and a pair of High Baroque vases, decorated with scenes from Roman history. The bronzes presented here illustrate the lively interchange of artists and ideas between Florence, Paris and Rome. They say much about the cultural preoccupations of their age, from the eternal fascination with the ancient world, to more modern concerns, such as contemporary theatre and the legacy of great modern sculptors. Wallace Collection, London, until 25th July.
Fra Angelico To Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings brings together the finest group of Italian Renaissance drawings to be seen in this country for over 70 years. The exhibition charts the increasing importance of drawing during the period between 1400 and 1510, featuring 100 works by amongst others Fra Angelico, Jacopo and Gentile Bellini, Botticelli, Carpaccio, Leonardo da Vinci, Filippo Lippi, Mantegna, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian and Verrocchio. In addition, infrared reflectography and other non-invasive scientific analysis of the works give fresh insights into the techniques and creative thinking of Renaissance artists as they experimented with a freedom not always apparent in their finished works. It was during the 1400s that artists began to make drawings as works of art in their own right, signifying the beginning of a wider appreciation of graphic works, which were beginning to be collected and preserved. This rising importance of drawing is evident in works such as Mantegna's mordant allegory of human folly, the 'Virtus Combusta' or later examples of finished presentation drawings such Leonardo's silverpoint 'Bust of a Warrior' from the 1470s. A highlight is the first surviving study for a panel painting: Lorenzo Monaco's study in the Uffizi for the left-wing of his 'Coronation of the Virgin' altarpiece, the first time the drawing and the related panel have been brought together. The exhibition gives a broad overview of the development of drawing throughout Italy, but with a particular emphasis on Florence, whose artists' works were characterised by the depiction of movement and the expression of emotion and states of mind, and Venice, whose artists' approach was dominated by atmospheric light and colour. British Museum until 25th July.
Treasures Of Lambeth Palace Library celebrates the 400th anniversary of one of the earliest public libraries in England. The exhibition draws upon the library's rich and diverse collections of manuscripts, archives and books, some of which are on public display for the first time. It not only shows these treasures, but also explores the history surrounding the people who owned, studied or used them as aids to prayer and devotion. Among the highlights of the exhibition are: the MacDurnan Gospels, written and illuminated in Ireland in the 9th century; the Lambeth Bible, a masterpiece of Romanesque art; the 13th century Lambeth Apocalypse; a Gutenberg Bible printed in 1455, the first great book printed in Western Europe from movable metal type; books owned and used by Kings and Queens, including a Book of Hours found in the tent of Richard III after his death at the Battle of Bosworth, a prayer book that belonged to Elizabeth I, and a book pleading for religious toleration with James I's angry notes in the margins; a pair of embroidered leather gloves worn by Charles I at his execution; physicians' reports on the illness of George III; an exceptionally rare edition of the Babylonian Talmud which survived a 1553 Papal Bull ordering all copies to be burnt, only rediscovered in 1992; the warrant for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots; landmark texts in the history of the Church of England, and papers of archbishops, bishops and leaders of church and state, ranging from the 13th century to the modern day, including those relating to the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire. Great Hall, Lambeth Palace, London, until 23rd July.