News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st February 2007


The Triumph Of Eros: Art And Seduction In 18th Century France explores themes of love and eroticism. The impetus for the exhibition, and at its core, is a recently discovered collection of rare French erotic engravings, collected in the 19th century Tsar Nicolas I, which has never been seen outside St Petersburg. The exhibition begins by examining the resurgence of interest in the ancient Roman and Greek god of erotic passion Cupid, or Eros, in 18th century French visual culture. It shows how his image was depicted, from paintings by Boucher on the theme of Cupid as an allegory of the arts, to an inkstand by the Sevres porcelain factory, with Cupid mischievously drumming on the inkwells. A highlight is the marble sculpture 'Menacing Cupid', by Etienne-Maurice Falconet, produced for Madame de Pompadour, which quickly became the most famous modern visual representation of Cupid, and was reproduced in many forms. Cupid's ever present influence upon different representations of love and seduction include not only idealised visions of love's triumph, such as Boucher's 'Pastoral Scene', but also representations of frustrated and thwarted love, as depicted in Watteau's 'Capricious Girl'. However, the exhibition also probes the ways in which the erotic in 18th century French art could easily slip over into the pornographic, the decent into the indecent. Works by Lancret, Nattier and Fragonard, including 'The Swing', explore the nature of disorderly passion, voyeurism and sexual licence, pushing at the boundaries of what was, and perhaps still is, deemed aesthetically acceptable. Hermitage Rooms, Somerset House, until 8th April.

Brian Eno: The Constellations (77 Million Paintings) is the latest work by the artist perhaps best known as an ambient music pioneer and as a founding member of Roxy Music. Eno has pursued several artistic ventures parallel to his music career, including visual art installations. 'The Constellations (77 Million Paintings)' creates 'visual music', using a series of 24 screens showing constantly evolving pictures. The 77 million digital light paintings are permutations generated from large format handmade slides, randomly combined by a computer, using specially developed software. Over 300 paintings, most of them scratched or inked onto slides, were digitised to create the 'raw materials' of the installation. The visuals are accompanied by a similarly randomly assembled track of interwoven sound, combining a melody with a variety of overlapping 'drips' of other sounds. The random nature of the installation allows each visitor a unique experience. It has been estimated that it would take 9,000 years to view all the possible combinations at the fastest speed available with current software. This is the first time the work has been seen in British gallery. Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, until 15th April.

Soviet Times: Russian Times 1917 - 2007 is a small but powerful exhibition of 40 photographs from the archives of Russian News and Information Agency RIA Novosti, covering the most controversial, unstable and difficult period of Russian history - the 90 years following the 1917 Russian Revolution. Using the turbulence of the Bolshevik Revolution as its starting point, the exhibition charts the changes this country has undergone over the last nine decades, from the industrialisation of the 1930s through the Second World War and Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and economic and social developments since then. Many of Russia's finest photographers have worked for the Agency or have their images in its archives. The exhibition has examples from Soviet era photographers such as Max Alpert and Arkady Shaiket, together with their more recent counterparts such as Dmitry Donskoi and Vladimir Vyatkin, who are the current employees of RIA Novosti. Among the examples of Vladimir Vyatkin's work, are the image of a federal reconnaissance unit in Chechnya, awarded a gold medal at the World Press Photo 2002, and the photograph Waterbirds, showing female swimmers practising technique, awarded a gold medal at Interpressphoto 2003. The images in this exhibition, many of which have rarely been seen before, give a glimpse of these moments in history, as experienced from the Russian perspective. Guildhall Art Gallery, London until 30th March.


Hogarth celebrates the great British 18th century artist whose work defined a period of British history more powerfully and enduringly than any other, with the most comprehensive exhibition in a generation. The display includes over 200 works, and showcases every aspect of Hogarth's career: paintings, ranging from elegant conversation pieces to salacious brothel scenes; drawings and sketches; and the numerous engraved works for which he is best known today. Highlights include the portraits 'David Garrick as Richard III', 'The Shrimp Girl', 'The Graham Children', 'Captain Thomas Coram', 'The Painter and his Pug' and 'Heads of Six of Hogarth's Servants'; the series 'A Rake's Progress', 'A Harlot's Progress', 'The Four Times of Day', 'Election', 'Marriage A-la-Mode', and 'Before' and 'After'; and the scenes 'Industry and Idleness', 'Gin Lane', 'Beer Street', 'The Stages of Cruelty', 'The March to Finchley' and 'O, the Roast Beef of Old England (The Gate of Calais)'. The exhibition examines Hogarth's life and work from his beginnings as a young engraver in the 1720s, through his rise to fame and fortune in the 1730s and 1740s, and on to the controversial years of the 1750s and early 1760s. It reveals that Hogarth's subjects and themes - the city, sexuality and behaviour, social integration, crime, political corruption, charity and patriotism, while being wholly Georgian, are entirely contemporary. Tate Britain until 29th April.

The National Cold War Exhibition, is the first major and permanent exhibition to focus on the Cold War, revealing the tensions between great powers, as well as the people of the world, in the second half of the 20th century. It is housed in a spectacular new £12.3m landmark building, designed by architects Fielden, Clegg, Bradley, which takes the form of two triangular constructions divided by a central walkway, representing a world divided by opposing ideologies of the democratic countries and the communist bloc. A major feature of the exhibition, designed by Neal Potter, are Britain's three V-Bombers: Vulcan, Victor and Valiant, on display under one roof for the first time, together with 14 other aircraft, including an American F111, Soviet MiG 15 and MiG 21, and the British Hunter, Sabre, Lightning and Canberra, 7 of which are suspended in flying attitudes. The aircraft are accompanied by armoured fighting vehicles, tanks, a section of the Berlin Wall, missiles, model submarines, an iconic statue of Lenin and life size Russian (Matryoshka) Dolls, together with symbols of everyday life, such as the VW Beetle, the Mini and the Trabant. In addition, there are interactive kiosks and audiovisual Hotspots that focus on key aspects of the Cold War, such as the Berlin Airlift, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Space Race. RAF Museum, Cosford, continuing.

The Gospels Of Tsar Ivan Alexander provides an opportunity to view a triumph of late medieval manuscript art, commissioned in 1355 by Tsar Ivan Alexander, the ruler of Bulgaria, who presided over a period of a spiritual and artistic revival. The manuscript, which is preserved in near perfect condition, is a remarkable survival, and the most celebrated work of art produced in Bulgaria before it fell to the Turks. The Gospels' pages are lavishly illustrated with 367 fine illuminated miniatures, executed in colours and gold. The text of the Gospels was copied by a monk named Simeon, who, in a colophon (a note on the commissioning and making of the manuscript) states that the volume was begun in 1355, and completed in one year. Close examination of the 367 illustrations suggests that they are the work of a team of artists, probably at least three in number, and their style of painting, pictorial models and adherence to complete anonymity, place them within the wider tradition of Byzantine book illumination. The Slavonic text of the Gospels is written in the Cyrillic alphabet, a refined form of the script first developed in the middle of the 9th century by St Constantine-Cyril, who translated the Christian scriptures by modifying the letters of the Greek alphabet to suit the phonetic needs of the local language. The opening pages of the volume include portraits of the Tsar, and his family, and though represented in formal poses, they display a striking individuality. British Library, until 31st March.

Citizens And Kings: Portraits In The Age Of Revolution 1760 - 1830 examines the radical shift that occurred in portraiture, both painted and sculpted, in response to the Enlightenment and the revolutions in Europe and America. These years saw dramatic transformations in the world order as new ideas and wealth vied with the old order of absolute monarchies. The exhibition consists of 150 works, ranging from the kings and queens, through the revoluitionary heroes and the rising beorgoisie, to Enlightenment thinkers, writers and artists. It includes works by the great innovators of portraiture, David and Goya, as well as their contemporaries such as Reynolds, Gainsborough, Roslin, Mengs, Vigee Lebrun and Singleton Copley and their successors, including Ingres, Gros, Lawrence, Chantry and Runge. The development through the period in both style and subject is perhaps best illustrated through Ingres's 'Napoleon on the Imperial Throne' and 'Louis-Francois Bertin' - Emperor to newspaper editor. Among the iconic works are: Goya's 'Ferdinand VII', Lawrence's 'George IV', Shubib's Catherine the Great', Zoffany's 'Queen Charlotte and her Two Eldest Sons', David's 'The Death of Marat' and The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries', Stuart's 'George Washington', Reynolds's 'Mrs Siddons as the Tragic Muse' and 'Joseph Banks', Copley's 'Samuel Adams', Boizot's bust of Marie-Antoinette, Pigalle's sculpture 'Voltaire Naked' and Houdon's bust of Benjamin Franklin. The Royal Academy of Arts, London until 20th April.

William Roberts: England At Play illustrates England's 20th century social history through the distinctive paintings of William Roberts, social commentator and a unique figure in the history of Modern British art. Known predominantly for his early ventures into Cubism, and for his membership and participation within Wyndham Lewis's pre-First World War Vorticist group, Roberts's work captured the English with humour and affection, providing a panorama of modern life. Taking as his subject the leisure activities of the English working class, he found inspiration at the doorstep of his London home. Visiting local cinemas, parks, cafes and pubs, plus trips to the races and the seaside, Roberts captured his fellow Londoners at play, and portrayed the eccentricities, peculiarities and pastimes of those around him, with a dignified humour and an unerring affection. Alone among 20th century English artists, Roberts used the language of Modern art to re-invigorate a tradition of recording everyday life, situating 'Everyman' at the heart of his work. This exhibition features key oil paintings from the 1920s to the 1970s, which not only chart Roberts's artistic development from his Vorticist origins to the monumental figures of his mature work, but also reveal how the way life in England changed dramatically during the period. Among the highlights are: 'Rush Hour', 'Jockeys (The Paddock)', and 'Goal'. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester until 18th March.

Number 1A Kensington Palace: From Courtiers' Lodgings To Royal Home is a photographic exhibition that tells the story of the people who have lived in this building, since 12 years of renovation by Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, turned the former Nottingham House into a royal palace, at the behest of King William III and Queen Mary. Members of the royal family have lived here for more than 300 years - it was where the 18 year old Princess Victoria was called from her bed in June 1837 to be told of her accession to the throne - and some still do, so only certain parts of the Palace are open to the public. The exhibition is being staged in Apartment 1A, a series of rooms on the first floor that were formerly part of Princess Margaret's accomodation. It highlights the work carried out by the Princess and Lord Snowdon in the 1960s to refurbish these rooms, mixing modern with 18th century, a blend evidenced in the entrance hall, Lord Snowdon's study, the guest bedroom, and garden room. Optional guided tours take visitors behind the scenes, into the drawing and dining rooms, and the apartment's large kitchen with its spectacular extractor hood designed by Lord Snowdon. Kensington Palace, London continuing.


London: A Life In Maps traces an epic visual journey through maps, topographical views, prints, engravings and ephemera, demonstrating how the obsessions, aspirations and concerns of Londoners drove the expansion and transformation of the metropolis over successive generations. Beginning with a gold coin from 310 depicting the walled Roman settlement of Londinium, it progresses through the ever larger, more detailed depictions of the Tudor and Stuart eras, and the improvements and squalor of the 18th and 19th centuries, to renderings of the city's current Olympic plans. Highlights include: a 15ft high single map of North London shown unified for the first time; the original hand drawn map for the reconstruction of London made within months of the Great Fire of 1666, together with the John Evelyn's diary describing the disaster; unaccredited Renaissance panoramic views of London; German bombing and invasion maps of 1940, showing targets for the bombers, and routes for the invading forces, together with an LCC Bomb Damage Map, showing the devastation in the Docks; a gold penny from Londonwic of about 810; Robert Hooke's original hand drawn plans for the Monument to the Fire; a sheet from the hand coloured 'Master Map of London Poverty' compiled for Charles Booth; drawings by Robert Adam for a grand gateway to London at Hyde Park Corner of 1778; detailed fire insurance plans showing squalor by the Thames in the 1850s, and the interior of Harrods in 1900; the real history of the A-Z from 1652 onwards; and a psychedelic panorama of Carnaby Street in 1970. The British Library until 4th March.

William Powell Frith: Painting The Victorian Age is the first exhibition for over 50 years of work by the quintessential yet radical and innovative Victorian artist, who has been hailed as the greatest British painter of the social scene since Hogarth. This display not only brings together Frith's three great and iconic 'modern life' panoramas, 'Life at the Seaside (Ramsgate Sands)', 'Derby Day', and 'The Railway Station (Paddington)', but also comprises more than 100 other paintings, drawings and engravings, including 'Many Happy Returns of the Day', 'Private View at the Royal Academy', 'The Crossing Sweeper' and the series 'Morning', 'Noon' and 'Night', as well as portraits such as 'Annie Gambart', 'After the Bath' and 'Did You Ring, Sir?'. The exhibition charts Frith's career from childhood copies of Dutch prints, through his first success, with colourful and detailed pictures drawn from historical and literary sources that included his great friend Charles Dickens, and his social panoramas, (where every picture truly does tell a story), to his late Hogarthian moralising series 'The Race for Wealth', about the contemporary passion for reckless financial speculation, and 'The Road to Ruin', five paintings showing a man's descent into gambling induced poverty. Guildhall Art Gallery, London, until 4th March.

Snowdomes is a celebration of tourism's single greatest contribution to popular culture, featuring an eclectic mix of historical, contemporary and newly commissioned work inspired by these popular miniatures and curiosities. Highlights include: one of the original snowdomes, invented by a manufacturer who encased ceramic models of the brand new Eiffel Tower in palm sized glass globes, magnified with water and fake snow, as souvenirs of the 1889 Paris Expo; an installation of 450 snowdomes from Nancy McMichael's collection of over 5,000, designed by Michael Davies; radically divergent new works commissioned from Anne Brodie, Kamini Chahaun, Richard Clegg, Mat Collishaw, Robert Doisneau, David Emerick, Len Horsey, Sarah Woodfine and Simon Woolham; Julian Germain's photo biography of 11 snowdome enthusiasts from around the world with their collections; a 'living snowdome' - a magical, engaging, visual and sensory experience by fashion designer Gareth Pugh; plus several individual personal collections, and a wide range of snowdome memorabilia. National Glass Centre, Sunderland until 4th March.