Private View held by Richard Andrews
Treasures Of The Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts And The Russian Tsars examines the development of cultural diplomacy and trade between Britain and Russia from its origins in 1555. The exhibition reveals the majesty and pageantry of the royal courts from Henry VIII to Charles II, and Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) to the early Romanovs, as they sought to strengthen their power against a backdrop of religious and social upheaval. Comprising more than 150 objects, the display chronicles the ritual and chivalry of the royal courts, with heraldry, processional armour and sumptuous textiles, including furnishings and fine clothing. The leading figures of the time including monarchs, diplomats, wealthy merchants and courtiers are introduced through portraiture, including paintings and miniatures by court artists, while magnificent examples of jewellery and luxury goods illustrate the valuable gifts presented by ambassadors. Highlights include the rarely shown Hampden portrait of Elizabeth I; the Barbor jewel, a pendant of enamelled gold set with an onyx cameo of Elizabeth I; a hand-coloured map of Muscovy from 1570; the Drake Star, a cameo cut with a black male and white female head in profile, in an elaborate enamelled gold setting, with further diamonds, rubies and pearls; contemporary literature, including a Shakespeare First Folio; a silver Dolphin Basin made in by Christiaen van Vianen; a heraldic sculpture over 2m high, comprising a bull, a gryphon, a ram and a salmon, carved from a single oak; and a suit of armour made for Henry VIII by the Royal Almain Armoury in Greenwich, alongside The Almain Album, a unique record containing 29 bespoke armour designs by Jacob Halder for high ranking Elizabethan courtiers. Victoria & Albert Museum until 14th July.
From Death To Death And Other Small Tales highlights the significance of the body as a theme in 20th and 21st century art. The exhibition of over 120 works offers a unique opportunity to explore the many and varied approaches that artists have taken across several decades when dealing with this most fundamental of subjects. Through innovative and often surprising configurations, the exhibition stages confrontations between the past and present, sculpture and painting, expressive and minimal forms, to illuminate the diverse ways in which artists have approached the subject of the body. Many of the most significant names in post-war and contemporary art are represented, figures whose output and ideas have shaped the way in which subsequent generations of artists have developed and others continue to emerge. Artists featured in the exhibition include Marina Abramovic, Matthew Barney, Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, Helen Chadwick, Marcel Duchamp, Tracy Emin, Robert Gober, Mike Kelley, Sarah Lucas, Paul McCarthy, Ana Mendieta, Pablo Picasso and Rachel Whiteread. The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, until 8th September.
Poster Art 150 - London Underground's Greatest Designs showcases 150 outstanding posters, as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of world's first underground railway. The exhibition features Underground posters by many famous artists including Edward McKnight Kauffer and Paul Nash, and designs from each decade over the last 100 years, selected from an archive of over 3,300. Well known posters, including the surrealist photographer Man Ray's 'Keeps London Going' pair, feature alongside lesser known gems, with a rare opportunity to view letter-press posters from the late 19th century. The exhibition focuses on six themes: Finding Your Way, including maps and etiquette posters, plus messages to reassure passengers by showing them what the Underground is like; Brightest London, celebrating nights out and sporting events, showing the brightest side of London; Capital Culture, about cultural encounters, be these at the zoo or galleries and museums; Away From It All, looking at the way posters encouraged people to escape, to the country, the suburbs and enjoy other leisure pursuits; Keeps London Going, featuring posters about how the Underground has kept London on the move through its reliability, speed and improvements in technology; and Love Your City, showing the best of London's landmarks as featured in posters over the years. London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, until 27th October.
Lichtenstein: A Retrospective claims to be the most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to the foremost Pop artist of the 1960s. Roy Lichtenstein is one of the central figures of American Pop Art, who pioneered a new style of painting, executed by hand but inspired by industrial printing processes. He became renowned for works based on comic strips and advertising imagery, coloured with his signature hand-painted Benday dots, as an ongoing examination of representation and originality in mass media culture. This exhibition of over 125 works showcases such key paintings as 'Look Mickey', 'Oh, Jeff', 'Masterpiece!', 'Hopeless', 'Drowning Girl', 'Whaam!' and 'Bratatat!'. Lichtenstein's rich and expansive output is represented by a wide range of materials, including paintings using Rowlux and steel, as well as sculptures in ceramic and brass, and a selection of previously unseen drawings, collages and works on paper. Alongside the classic paintings of romantic heroines and scenes of war for which Lichtenstein is best known, this exhibition shows other early Pop works, such as images of everyday objects in black and white. Also on display are Lichtenstein's artistic explorations depicting landscapes, mirrors and so-called 'perfect' and 'imperfect' paintings, as well as works that highlight his engagement with art history, revealing his lesser-known responses to Futurism, Surrealism and German Expressionism. In the final years of his life, Lichtenstein went on to create a series of huge female nudes and Chinese landscapes, neither of which have previously been shown within the wider context of his work. Tate Modern until 27th May.
John Flaxman: Line To Contour surveys the work of the leading exponent of British Neoclassicism, renowned for minimally drawn illustrations of stories from ancient Greece. Having learnt the techniques of sculpting in his father's plaster-cast workshop, John Flaxman began his career as a designer for Josiah Wedgwood's world famous pottery. Flaxman's impact on British manufacture continued for some decades, with many of his designs from the 1770s continuing to be used throughout the Victorian period. In 1787 Flaxman travelled to Rome, where he stayed for seven years, producing his most famous works, including engravings for publications of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Dante's Divine Comedy and The Tragedies of Aeschylus. Instantly successful, they were universally acknowledged to have captured the very essence of Homeric Greece and medieval Italy. The exhibition includes preliminary drawings for these works, alongside later illustrations modelled on Roman street scenes. Outline studies of male figures in cloaks and a famous sketch of a woman shaking a cloth out of a window are distinctive in their stylistic purity, reduced to a few essential lines. On returning to London, Flaxman worked on numerous sculptural commissions for major public monuments, as well as smaller funerary monuments produced for churches including St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. These often commemorated the dead with affecting simplicity, placing emphasis on feelings of loss rather than a celebration of lifetimes' achievements. Plaster models, representing stages in the process of production, sometimes preceded by sketches, also feature in the exhibition. Like most of the drawings they have rarely been seen and give an insight into the thinking that led to Flaxman's more formal output. Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, until 21st April.
Alien Revolution looks at the history of our relationship with extra-terrestrial life through science and culture. From the writings of 16th century astronomer Copernicus to modern day scientists still searching for life amongst the stars, the exhibition takes a whistle-stop tour of our on-going fascination with alien life, including children's favourite outer-space creature, E.T.; the intrepid Mars Curiosity rover on its solitary mission; and American couple Betty and Barney Hill, who claimed to be among some of the first people abducted by aliens in 1961. Copernicus made us rethink our place in the cosmos, recognising the Earth as a planet and the Sun as a star. The idea that the other planets in our Solar System were other Earths, with their own plants, animals and intelligent inhabitants took hold and led people to wonder if each star could be a Sun with its own family of inhabited earth-like planets. Within less than a century many people, from scientists to clergymen, believed in an infinite universe awash with intelligent alien life, reflected in religion, literature, philosophy, art and film. With scientific and fantastical images that capture the imagination, the exhibition explores our obsession with other worlds, from luminous paintings of whimsical bat-men and ethereal Moon maidens in the 19th century, to the violent depiction of invading Martians in stories of hostile aliens by H G Wells, and the first appearances of mysterious and complex crop-circles in 1970s England. Royal Observatory, Greenwich, until 8th September.
Barocci: Brilliance And Grace showcases the remarkable fertility of imagination and the diversity of working methods of the artist who was a pioneer of the Baroque. The exhibition assembles the majority of Federico Barocci's greatest altarpieces and paintings, together with sequences of preparatory drawings, revealing how each picture evolved. From his earliest creations of the 1550s, Barocci challenged pictorial convention by positioning his figures in dynamic spatial arrangements, anticipating by almost half a century the innovations of Baroque art. He was an incessant and even obsessive draughtsman, preparing every composition with prolific studies in every conceivable medium. Fascinated and inspired by people and animals, he infused his compositions with infectious charm and an unparalleled sensitivity to colour. Spiritually attuned by nature, Barocci was predominantly a painter of religious subjects, his approach epitomising the clarity and accessibility required by a Catholic church. Barocci's unique warmth and humanity transformed familiar gospel stories and more unusual visions into transcendent archetypes with universal appeal. Highlights include Barocci's most spectacular altarpiece, 'The Entombment of Christ' from the town of Senigallia; ''Last Supper' painted for Urbino Cathedral; the 'Visitation' from the Chiesa Nuova and the 'Institution of the Eucharist' from Santa Maria sopra Minerva. In addition, the exhibition includes Barocci's finest portraits, smaller devotional paintings, and his only secular narrative, 'Aeneas Flight from Troy', plus more than 65 preparatory drawings, pastel studies and oil sketches, the latter techniques pioneered by Barocci long before they became standard artistic practice. National Gallery until 19th May.
Roger Mayne: Aspects Of A Great Photographer features the work of the photographer who made his name when he sought to record a way of life in a rundown area of North Kensington in the late 1950s, before it was redeveloped as part of a slum clearance scheme. Working with a lightweight Zeiss Super Ikonta camera and bolstered by gaining the trust of his subjects, Roger Mayne was able to capture the vigour and poverty around him. His pictures have added poignancy as they chronicle the end of an era when it was still safe for children to play in the streets. From the 1960s onwards, Mayne turned his eye to similar outdoor scenes in Leeds, Sheffield, Glasgow, the Mediterranean, Japan and China, latterly focusing on the development of his own children and grandchildren. Mayne's many friendships with leading artists of the day influenced his approach and resulted in telling portraits of Henry Moore, Terry Frost, Roger Hilton, Gillian Ayres and others. Also included in the exhibition are some of Mayne's lyrical and expressive drawings of landscapes and nudes. By surveying all aspects of Mayne's career, this exhibition highlights less well known aspects of his work and proves that photography can be as creative an art form as painting and sculpture. Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, until 7th April.
Piranesi's Paestum: Master Drawings Uncovered brings together for the first time since the artist's death all 17 drawings from last great graphic project. The Paestum drawings were the preparatory work for Giovanni Battista Piranesi's Differentes Vues de Pesto, finished by his son Francesco and published posthumously in 1778. They depict views of the three great Doric temples in the former Greek colony of Poseidonia, colonised by the Romans and re-named Paestum. Left abandoned, and later cut off by a malarial swamp, the ruins of the colony were rediscovered in 1746 during the construction of a new road. Its massive and well-preserved Doric temples dedicated to Poseidon, Hera and Athena sparked renewed interest among artists and architects, and inspired drawings, prints, paintings and models, which revolutionised understanding of early Greek Classical architecture. The highly finished drawings reveal insights into the ideas of the graphic artist whose work has influenced designers from Escher to the makers of the Harry Potter films, and sheds new light on the considerable impact of his work on 18th century architectural taste. The Paestum drawings are highly unusual in Piranesi's portfolio. Although he usually made preparatory drawings for his etchings, much of the composition was often worked directly on to the copper plate at the engraving stage. These drawings contain a level of detail very close to the finished prints, and it is thought that perhaps, aware of his failing health, Piranesi included as much detail as possible for his son to finish the work he had begun. He uses the full repertoire of his draughtsmanship to create images that both accurately describe the architecture of the Paestum temples and bring out their evocative, rustic setting. Multi-layering of pencil, brown and grey washes and pen and ink, sometimes with the addition of red chalk or white chalk highlights, creates a layered effect which can be compared to the repeated bitings in the resulting etchings. Sir John Soane Museum, London, until 18th May.
Mughal India: Art, Culture And Empire explores one of the most powerful and splendid of all the world's great dynasties. The 'Great Mogul' seated on a jewel-encrusted throne is one of the most enduring images of India. The Mughal dynasty produced a great number of rulers of outstanding ability in statecraft and culture, whether in empire-building or as patrons of art and architecture. This exhibition is the first to document the entire historical period, from the foundation of the Mughal dynasty by Babur in the 16th century, through the heights of the empire and the 'Great' Mughal emperors of the 17th century, into the decline and eventual collapse in the 19th century, through more than 200 manuscripts, paintings and jeweled objects. Highlights include the paintings 'Akbar ordering the slaughter to cease in 1578' a folio from an imperial manuscript on the history of Emperor Akbar, one of the greatest rulers of the Indian subcontinent; 'Squirrels in a plane tree', an iconic masterpiece painted by Abu'l Hasan, a pre-eminent artist of the imperial court; 'Prince Aurangzeb reports to Emperor Shah Jahan in durbar', a historically important illustration featuring the Emperor famed for commissioning the Taj Mahal, enthroned inside his palace fortress at Lahore; and 'Portrait of Prince Dara Shikoh', featured in the only surviving album compiled by Dara Shikoh, a passionate connoisseur of the arts and scholar of religion; plus a gold crown, inset with diamonds, emeralds, turquoises, rubies, and pearls, lined with velvet, bought by Queen Victoria 1861; a jade flywhisk handle or morchhal, set with rubies and emeralds in gold collets to form flowers and leaves; and 17th century Mughal cavalryman and horse armour. British Library until 2nd April.
Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair celebrates the transformation of the world's most popular pin-up to acclaimed actress, highlighting the British photographers and personalities who admired her and worked with her. Photographs and magazine covers featuring Marilyn Monroe from 1947 to 1962 include Antony Beauchamp's poses taken in 1951 wearing a yellow bikini, and Baron's portraits of Monroe bathed in Californian sunlight taken in 1954. Cecil Beaton's 1956 photographs taken in his Ambassador Hotel suite in New York include Monroe's favourite image of herself, clutching a rose. Life photographer Larry Burrows was one of many photographers who covered Monroe's four month visit to Britain to work on the film 'The Prince And The Showgirl', including the press conference for the film at the Savoy Hotel. Cinematographer and cameraman Jack Cardiff photographed Monroe during a private sitting at that time. Other photographs show Monroe at a Royal Command film performance meeting the Queen, and at the Comedy Theatre with Arthur Miller, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, who was her director and co-star. Monroe is also shown with other British subjects including the director Roy Ward Baker and the poet Edith Sitwell. In addition, the display includes a comprehensive selection of rare British magazine covers featuring photographs taken by Andre de Dienes and Milton Greene, and a 1960 Sight and Sound showing Monroe as she appeared in 'Let's Make Love', in which she appeared with British singer Frankie Vaughan. National Portrait Gallery until 24th March.
World Eco Fibre & Textile Art explores the three dimensionality of textile art through installations and sculptural constructions, in which contemporary artists are taking fibre sculpture into new areas. The exhibition gives an insight into current trends, showing how textile art can be considered as another genre of fine art, and includes the work of artists from over 35 countries across the world. The display highlights the manner in which traditional resist techniques such as ikat, tritik, shibori, yuzen and batik, together with the art of embellishment such as embroidery and quilting, are applied to contemporary textile art. The emphasis is on hand-woven and hand-made textiles, as opposed to the machine-made. Hand-made textiles display the skills of the designer and the producer and reflect a long history of artistic and cultural tradition. The textiles themselves illustrate and display the use of natural yarns and dyes as a means of artistic expression. Fibres such as cotton, silk, ramie, abaca, pina, hemp and bark, and colours that derive from dye materials such as plant roots, leaves, flowers, fruits, insects and molluscs are part of this process, together with the use of natural mordents in the interaction of fixing colour to the cloth. The Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Russell Square, London WC1, until 23rd March.