News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th April 2009


Kuniyoshi is the first exhibition in Britain of work by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, one of the greatest Japanese print artists, in nearly 50 years. Featuring over 150 works, the exhibition presents Kuniyoshi as a master of imaginative design. It reveals the graphic power and beauty of his prints across an unprecedented range of subjects, highlighting his ingenious use of the triptych format. Kuniyoshi was a major master of the 'floating world', or Ukiyo-e school of Japanese art, and dominated 19th century printmaking in Japan. Kuniyoshi considerably expanded the existing repertoire of the school, particularly with thousands of designs that brought vividly to life famous military exploits in Japan and China. He portrayed historic heroes of Japan's worrier past and brigands from the Chinese adventure story The Water Margin, giving dramatic pictorial expression to the myths and legends. Kuniyoshi developed an powerful and imaginative style in his prints, often spreading a scene dynamically across all three sheets of the traditional triptych format, and linking the composition with one bold unifying element - a major artistic innovation. Kuniyoshi was also very active in other genres including beautiful women, Kabuki actors, landscapes, comic themes, erotica and commissioned paintings, in each of which he was experimental, imaginative and different from his contemporaries. He transformed the genre of landscapes by incorporating Western conventions, such as cast shadows and innovative applications of perspective. Highlights include rare original brush drawings, a selection of extraordinarily dynamic triptych prints, and the only known example of a set of 12 comic erotic prints. Royal Academy of Arts until 7th June.

The Anson Engine Museum has just opened for the 2008 season with a full size replica of the first ever diesel engine, made by Rudolf Diesel in Germany in 1897. The copy was built to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Diesel's birth last year by MAN Truck & Bus Ltd, and is on public display for the first time. It stands alongside the Mirrlees No1, the 1st ever diesel engine built in Britain, which was the 3rd ever built in the world, revealing the alterations and improvements that were developed between the two engines. This specialist engineering museum houses a unique collection of over 200 gas and oil engines, many maintained in running order. It tells the story of the engine from the cannon to the sophisticated, electronically controlled engine of the future. Prize exhibits include: the largest running example of Crossley Atmospheric gas engine; the original Gardner L series engine; a rare Atkinson-cycle engine; the first ever built Crossley engine; a Griffin 6-stroke engine; a Hugon gas engine; a Stott cross-compound mill engine; and a Fowler beam engine. The museum is on the site of the former Anson Colliery, and also features a display of photographs, maps and mementoes from the Anson Colliery and Vernon Estate, telling the story of the rise and decline of the coalmining industry in the area. The Anson Engine Museum, Anson Road, Poynton, Cheshire, until 25th October.

London Aquarium, one of the largest in Europe, containing over 1m litres of water, and over 400 species, has reopened after 5m redevelopment. Visitors can experience an immersive journey along the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt, meeting thousands of marine creatures from every part of the world in themed settings. Features include a glass tunnel walkway beneath a tropical ocean, containing 25 species, including green turtles, seahorses, the world's biggest captive shoal of cownose rays, butterfly fish, octopus, stingrays with a 2m wingspan, zebra sharks, clown fish and piranhas; a Pacific shipwreck; an Atlantic coastline; a life size replica of a blue whale skeleton; secret coral caves; a dive school; an area where visitors can feed and handle fish; and a display telling the story of the River Thames. The finale is provided by the new Shark Walk, a perspex walkway across the shark pool that allows visitors to come frighteningly close to 5 different species, including 4.5m long nurse sharks. The aquarium is also an education, research, conservation and breeding centre, which hopes to breed its own zebra sharks. London Aquarium, County Hall, Southbank, London, continuing.


Henry VIII: Dressed To Kill is an exhibition of the personal arms and armour of Henry VIII, held as part of celebration of the 500th anniversary of his accession to the throne. It brings together the largest number of original weapons, armours and pieces of military equipment associated with Henry VIII ever displayed, including some original artefacts that have never been seen by the public before. Highlights include: the stunningly decorated 'Silvered and Engraved' armour from about 1515; the 'Tonlet Armour', named from its large metal tonlet (or skirt) offering protection for the upper legs, which Henry wore to compete in foot combat at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520; the 'Horned Helmet' presented to Henry by the Emperor Maximilian, featuring a strange face and incredible horns; the 'Burgundian Bard' horse armour; the 'Wilton anime' armour, possibly the very last ever made for Henry, worn during the siege of Boulogne in 1544, comprising a series of overlapping horizontal plates; and the only two sporting guns that are known to have survived from Henry's personal armoury. As it was made to fit the body exactly, armour from different dates in Henry's life reflect the physical changes as he aged, from the physique of an athletic young king, to the heavier older man of the Holbein painting. The exhibition uses the latest photographic, video and scanning techniques to show in fine detail the intricate construction and lavish decoration of these original artefacts, hand made by master armourers in England and Europe. Tower Of London until 17th January.

Turner And Italy explores the complex and enduring relationship between the artist J M W Turner, and the climate, landscapes and architecture of Italy. The exhibition comprises over 100 works, including oil paintings, watercolours, sketchbooks, and books from Turner's library, which illustrate his fascination with the country. Turner travelled to Italy seven times, and while past exhibitions have considered particular aspects of his Italian work, such as his love of Venice, this is the first to provide a comprehensive overview, and consider the impact it had on his British art. Highlights include 'Rome from the Vatican', a panorama of the city, which shows Raphael painting in the foreground, 'Palestrina - Composition', 'Bay of Naples (Vesuvius Angry)', 'Florence, from San Miniato', 'Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino', 'The Val d'Aosta' and 'Approach to Venice'. Because Turner's enthusiasm for Italy was sustained throughout his career, this exhibition illustrates all the distinct stages in the stylistic evolution of his work, and the transition he made from early, conventional topographical studies, to the highly charged, emotive, and visionary pictures of his later years. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 7th June.

The Whitechapel Gallery has reopened following a 13.5m expansion into the adjoining Passmore Edwards library, designed by Robbrecht en Daem, in association with Witherford Watson Mann Architects, which has increased the space by 78%. This has provided new galleries dedicated to collections and new commissions, a permanent gallery and research room for the archive, an education and research tower, including study and creative studios, and a restaurant. The reopening exhibitions comprise: an installation by Goshka Macuga, inspired by the gallery's revolutionary exhibition of Picasso's Guernica in 1939, featuring the United Nations tapestry copy of the painting; a retrospective of the work of German sculptor Isa Genzken, who combines silver foil, plastic wrap, flowers and even a hostess trolley into a things of poetic beauty; a display of pieces from the British Council Collection selected by Michael Craig-Martin, including early purchases of works by artists such as Frank Auerbach, Lucien Freud, Ben Nicholson, Paul Nash, Henry Moore, Sarah Lucas, Peter Doig and Chris Ofili; a tribute to the early days of the Co-operative movement in Whitechapel by Mexican artist Minerva Cuevas; and rare documents and letters from the archive, focusing on the forming of the Vorticist movement in the library, by artists David Bomberg, Mark Gertler and Isaac Rosenberg. The Whitechapel Gallery, London, continuing.

Wallace & Gromit PresentA World Of Cracking Ideas is a new interactive experience telling the story of invention and innovation. Britain's best known inventor (and his equally resourceful companion) guide visitors through a world of innovation to discover how simple ideas can transform into life changing devices. Created in collaboration with Aardman Animations and the Intellectual Property Office, the exhibition is designed to inspire a new generation of British innovators. Visitors go on a tour through 62 West Wallaby Street, the famous home of Wallace & Gromit, from the kitchen to the garden shed, taking in some of Britain's first ever real inventions to be awarded patents, alongside Wallace's own 'cracking contraptions' such as the Tellyscope, the Piella Propellor, Techno-trousers and the Blend-o-matic. Each room in the house looks at a different aspect of the thinking process behind ideas, and shows visitors how they can protect their intellectual property through patents, trademarks, designs and copyright, ensuring that they derive maximum value from their inventions. Visitors inspired by the exhibition can come up with their own creative ideas, which they can jot down and leave at 'Ideas Stations' located in the Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Bathroom, Workshop and Garden. Visitors' ideas will also be used to power Wallace's new 3m high contraption called The Thinking Cap Machine. The Science Museum until 1st November.

Fatal Attraction: Diana And Actaeon - The Forbidden Gaze focuses on works relating to the mythical tale of Diana and Actaeon, which has provided a rich source of inspiration for artists through the centuries. In Ovid's Metamorphoses, the noble hunter Actaeon inadvertently encounters the goddess Diana bathing. As a punishment for catching this glimpse, he is transformed into a stag by Diana, and is consequently hunted down and killed by his own hounds. This exhibition explores how the myth has been portrayed in many ways by the visions of different artists, in forms from painting and photography to ceramics and sculpture, from antiquity to the present day. It features works by artists including Titian, Rembrandt, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Gustav Klimt, Degas, Pablo Picasso, Egon Schiele, Rubens, Hans Bellmer, Paolo Vernonese, Albrecht Durer, Charles Joseph Natoire, Robert Mapplethorpe, Marlene Dumas, Delacroix, Karen Knoor, Gregory Crewdson, William Etty, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Thomas Ruff, Pierre Klossowski and John Currin. Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until 31st May.

Sickert In Venice is devoted to the paintings of Venice made by Walter Richard Sickert, who became known as the father of modern British art, after introducing Impressionism and Post-Impressionism to a younger generation of British painters. Having trained under James McNeill Whistler, Sickert made repeated visits to Venice from 1895 onwards, as the city became the dominant subject of his art, creating some of his most ravishing impressionist work. Initially Sickert painted many scenes of Venetian architecture, including landmarks such St Mark's Basilica and the Rialto Bridge. On subsequent visits, Sickert moved the object of his attention first into alleyways, and then indoors, experimenting with the concept of ambiguous figures in interiors. Through his pairing of female figures, such as the Venetian prostitutes La Giuseppina and La Carolina, sometimes dressed, sometimes nude, Sickert discovered an approach to the subject that formed the basis of his art for the remainder of his career.

Veronese: The Petrobelli Altarpiece brings together for the first time since the 1780s, the four known, surviving pieces of one of the largest altarpieces ever produced in Italy during the 16th century. Over 5m high, the altarpiece was originally painted around 1565 by Paolo Veronese for Antonio and Girolamo Petrobelli, and it resided in their family chapel, San Francesco at Lendinara, until 1785, when the church and convent were closed down and destroyed. The painting was cut up and sold in pieces, described at the time as being 'sold in quarters, as one does with butcher's meat'. This exhibition reunites a newly discovered fragment of the central section together with the three known parts, but the whereabouts of the rest of this piece remain a mystery.

Dulwich Picture Gallery, Sickert until 31st May - Veronese until 3rd May.


Sun Wind And Rain: The Art Of David Cox, which marks 150 years since the death of the somewhat neglected British watercolourist, is the first major exhibition of his work for 25 years. David Cox became famous for the freshness and immediacy of his rural and coastal landscapes, in which he captured the passing effects of wind, light and weather so vividly. However, unlike other 'weather painters', Cox was not drawn to terrifying conditions in which immense storms dwarf the human to helpless insignificance, nor did he use occasions of extreme meteorology as opportunities to push representation to the brink of abstraction. In Cox's paintings the scale is generally human, and while the world may be rough at times, it is rarely murderous. The exhibition comprises over 100 watercolours and drawings, including 'Sun, Wind and Rain', 'Ulverston Sands', 'Windermere During the Regatta', 'The Night Train', 'The Skylark', 'Crossing the Sands', 'On the Moors, Near Bettws-y-Coed' and 'Darley Churchyard', together with about a dozen oil paintings from later in his career. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery until 3rd May.

Bruegel To Rubens: The Masters Of Flemish Painting is the first exhibition ever mounted of Flemish paintings in the Royal Collection. It brings together 51 works from the 15th to 17th centuries, including masterpieces by Hans Memling, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Jan Brueghel, Van Dyck and Rubens. By the 1550s the Netherlands enjoyed a level of wealth that remained unmatched in the West for centuries, but the Eighty Years War with Spain, from 1568 to 1648, all but destroyed the region's creative industries. The paintings in this exhibition were produced in the Southern, Spanish ruled Netherlands, during this period of turbulence and its immediate aftermath. Highlights include Pieter Bruegel the Elder's 'Massacre of the Innocents', the violence of which was toned down after delivery to its patron; Peter Paul Rubens's self portrait, 'Assumption of the Virgin', created in a bid to secure the commission for the high altarpiece of Antwerp Cathedral, and 'Diana and Nymphs Spied on by Satyrs'; Jan Brueghel the Elder's 'Adam and Eve in Garden of Eden' and 'A Village Festival'; Jacob de Formentrou's 'A Cabinet of Pictures', a classic example of the picture gallery interior; Anthony van Dyck's 'Christ Healing the Paralytic'; Frans Snyders's 'Pythagoras Advocating Vegetarianism'; Marten van Heemskerck's 'Jonah under his Gourd' and 'The Four Last Things'; Hans Vredeman de Vries's 'Christ in the House of Mary and Martha'; Crispin van den Broeck's 'Christ Healing the Sick'; and Jan Gossaert's 'The Three Children of Christian II of Denmark', among a group of portraits. The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace until 26th April.

G F Watts: Victorian Visionary - Highlights From The Watts Gallery Collection is a retrospective exhibition of one of Britain's greatest and most original artists, made possible by the closure of Watts Gallery in Surrey for a restoration and development project. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to examine the output of the artist whose life spanned the Victorian age, but whose art prefigures so many of the concerns of the 20th century. It comprises over 80 paintings, drawings and sculptures, and explores all facets of Watts's artistic output, from allegorical work to portraits, landscapes and engagement with social issues. Highlights include 'Lady Holland'; 'Found Drowned' and 'Irish Famine', radical social paintings of the late 1840s; the grand allegorical paintings 'Progress' and 'Hope' - a bent and vulnerable figure seated on a globe playing a lyre with all but one string broken, a powerful icon of Victorian faith and doubt; and one of his last works, 'The Sower of the Systems', hinting at the abstraction of modern painting that would follow. Guildhall Art Gallery, London, until 26th April.