Private View held by Richard Andrews
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.
Illuminated looks at 'light', both as an influence, as it is incorporated through artists work, and in a metaphorical sense. The exhibition features artists who incorporate sculptural, photographic, and metaphorical light in their work, often using scientific methodologies and influences, as well as artists who produce work that is in some way transformative, or suggests a change in either an object or within the human spirit or psyche. It includes a preparatory drawing for 'The Alchymist' by Joseph Wright of Derby; David Batchelor's sculptural installations, made from objects found in the streets of London and given new life as empty but brightly coloured light works; Katie Paterson's film 'Ancient Darkness TV', a collaboration with astronomers from the Mauna Kea Volcano telescope, featuring an image of 'ancient darkness' from the furthest point of the observed universe, 13.2 billion years ago, shortly after the Big Bang and before Earth existed, when stars, galaxies and the first light began to form; David Ward's 'RINK', with imagery from scientific sources, such as astronomy and line generated by particle collisions in the study of particle physics; and 'Brilliant Noise' by Semiconductor, a film based on satellite files and imagery of the Sun from NASA. QUAD, Derby, until 3rd February.
Northern Renaissance: Durer To Holbein celebrates the Renaissance in northern Europe, the counterpart to the revolution in art and scholarship that took place in Italy during the 15th and 16th centuries. While monarchs vied for territorial power, reformers questioned the central tenets of Christian faith, and scholars sought greater understanding of their world. At the heart of this new thinking was the challenge to the teachings of the Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther. Artists responded by turning from emotive devotional subject matter to portraiture and mythology, producing works of ingenuity, beauty and superb technical skill. The exhibition comprises over 130 paintings, drawings, prints, manuscripts, miniatures and sculptures. Among the highlights are Durer's 'The Apocalypse: The Four Horsemen', 'The Prodigal Son', 'Pupila Augusta', 'A Knight, Death and the Devil', 'St Jerome in his Study', 'Burkhard of Speyer' and 'Desiderius Erasmus'; Leonardo da Vinci's 'A masquerader as a Lansquenet'; Pieter Bruegel the Elder's 'Massacre of the Innocents'; Jan Gossaert's 'Adam and Eve'; Lucas Cranach the Elder's 'Apollo and Diana'; Hans Holbein the Younger's 'Noli me Tangere', the preparatory pencil drawing for and painting 'Sir Henry Guildford', 'Sir Richard Southwell' and 'Derich Born'; and Francois Clouet's 'Mary, Queen of Scots'. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 14th April.
Death: A Self Portrait - The Richard Harris Collection is a selection of works from a unique collection devoted to the iconography of death and our complex and contradictory attitudes towards it. Assembled by Richard Harris, a former antique print dealer based in Chicago, the collection is spectacularly diverse, including artworks, historical artefacts, scientific specimens and ephemera from across the world. The exhibition of some 300 works, by turns disturbing, macabre and moving, includes rare prints by Rembrandt, Durer and Goya; anatomical drawings; war art and antique metamorphic postcards; human remains; Renaissance vanitas paintings; a group of ancient Incan skulls; 20th century installations celebrating Mexico's Day of the Dead; and a spectacular chandelier made of 3000 plaster-cast bones by British artist Jodie Carey. Contemplating Death explores the pressing of our own mortality upon us, through memento mori which range across media and centuries to include works by Warhol, van Utrecht and Mapplethorpe, together with netsuke miniatures and porcelain, bronze and ivory skulls. The Dance Of Death focuses on the levelling universality of death, from the iconography of the medieval 'Danse Macabre', which emerged in a landscape of plague, famine and war, to the entwined skeletons who dance through Tibetan Chitipati art. Violent Death is dominated by Jacques Callot's 'The Miseries and Misfortunes of War', Francisco Goya's 'The Disasters of War' and Otto Dix's 'The War', works of chaos, brutality and, more troublingly, aesthetic beauty. Commemoration follows some of the varied rituals around death, burial and mourning, from a Pacific Island tau tau, or grave guardian, and pre-Colombian Aztec vessels to American photographs of individuals posing with macabre props. Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road London NW1, until 24th February.
Biba And Beyond: Barbara Hulanicki celebrates the legendary 1960s store, the clothes, the lifestyle and the far reaching influence of the iconic brand. In addition to the Biba 'lifestyle', the exhibition also looks at the life and times of the charismatic and talented woman behind the Biba label, Barbara Hulanicki, including her earlier career in fashion illustration, and her later achievements in interior design and architecture. With its cutting edge yet affordable fashion, Barbara Hulanicki's Biba store and label transformed the High Street shopping experience in the 1960s and 70s. Young working women shopped alongside models and celebrities, including Cathy McGowan, Twiggy, Cher and the Rolling Stones. Art Deco, Victorian and Hollywood glamour all combined in striking, romantic and sensual designs. Biba began as a tiny boutique in Church Street in Kensington that opened in 1964, but eventually overreached itself by taking over the former Derry and Toms department store, 9 times the size of the original, with Egyptian columns, Edwardian fashion styles, Victoriana and marble floors - a wonderland that attempted to embrace an entire lifestyle, even down to cans of baked beans, generating 100,000 visitors a week (although many only came to stand and stare). The exhibition tells the extraordinary story through illustrations, film, fashion, music, photography, ephemera and the memories and reminiscences of those who shared the experience. Brighton Museum & Art Gallery until 14th April.
Peter Lely: A Lyrical Vision features a remarkable but forgotten group of large-scale narrative paintings produced in the 1640s and 1650s by England's leading painter of the time. Peter Lely was Charles II's Principal Painter and the outstanding artistic figure of Restoration England. Since the 17th century, he has been celebrated for his flattering pictures of the great and the beautiful of Charles II's court. However, when Lely arrived in England from Holland in the early 1640s, he devoted himself to paintings inspired by classical mythology, the Bible or contemporary literature. Often depicting a sensuous pastoral world of shepherds, nymphs and musicians in idyllic landscapes, these ambitious pictures are all the more extraordinary for having been painted during the turmoil of the English Civil War and its aftermath. Among the highlights of the exhibition are 'The Concert', featuring a self-portrait of the artist as the striking viol player who holds the picture aesthetically and thematically together, 'Nymphs by a Fountain', 'The Rape of Europa', 'Cimon and Iphigenia', 'Two Children Singing' and 'A Boy as a Shepherd'. Lely was an enthusiastic collector, and by the end of his life had amassed one of England's richest collections of 16th and 17th century Italian paintings and drawings, several examples of which are included in the exhibition. Courtauld Gallery, London, until 13th January.
Shoot! Existential Photography traces the history of a curious side-show that appeared at fairgrounds in the period following World War I: the photographic shooting gallery. If the customer hit the bullseye, he or she triggered a camera, winning a snapshot of themselves in the act of shooting. The metaphorical charge of the activity is obvious - upon looking at their portrait the shooter sees the gun, still trained in their hands a moment after its discharge, aimed at themselves. The idea fascinated many artists and intellectuals in its heyday, including existentialist French philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, surrealist Man Ray and photographers Robert Frank, Henri Cartier- Bresson and Brassai among others. Showcasing vernacular and vintage images alongside contemporary pieces, the exhibition traces the history of this image making process from its days as a popular sideshow to its re-appropriation by artists. It includes numerous analogies between taking photographs and shooting, and includes works by contemporary artists such as Sylvia Ballhause, Agnes Geoffray, Jean-Francois Lecourt, Steven Pippin, Emilie Pitoiset, Niki de Saint Phalle and Patrick Zachmann. Among the highlights are Erik Kessels's celebration of one amateur shooter, Ria van Dijk, who took portraits of herself in this way every year from 1936, with 60 of her images; Rudolf Steiner's series 'Pictures of me, shooting myself into a picture', in which the bullet hole serves as the aperture for a pinhole camera, creating an image upon impact; and the video-sound installation 'Crossfire' by Christian Marclay, a sampling from Hollywood films that edits together those moments in which the actors on the screen begin to take aim at the movie theatre audience. The Photographer's Gallery, 16 - 18 Ramillies Street, London W1, until 6th January.
The First Cut features work by contemporary artists who radically rethink the possibilities of working with paper, and take it beyond its natural boundaries. By transforming books and magazines, maps and currency, using origami, cutouts, silhouettes, creating dresses, animations, sculptures and installations, the 31 international artists in this exhibition demonstrate the huge potential and power of such a humble and fragile material, transforming it into fantastical works of art. Giant sculptures inspired by far away galaxies spiral from the wall; there is a walk-through forest of paper trees; miniature worlds explode from vintage staple boxes and emerge from the page of a book; flocks of birds and butterflies cut from maps appear alongside artworks that feature dark fairytale imagery; guns and grenades are fashioned from paper currency; and sinister silhouettes comment on social, political and economic issues. Meanwhile, fragile paper dresses and shoes, as well as sculptural dresses fashioned out of maps and money respond to the historical costume displays and grandeur of their Georgian setting. The delicacy and vulnerability of their sculptural form belies the gravity of the issues they confront, including ecology, geo-politics, mapping and trade, as well as identity, the body and memory. Manchester Art Gallery and Manchester Gallery of Costume until 27th January.
Cotman In Normandy looks at the central chapter of the career of the celebrated 19th century English watercolourist. For most of the 19th century John Sell Cotman was the most widely admired English watercolourist, surpassing even JMW Turner in popularity. Between 1817 and 1820 Cotman made 3 tours of Normandy, where he was shocked by the destruction wrought on the region's religious buildings by the iconoclasts of the French Revolution. He painted and drew structures that survived with a sharpened sense of their vulnerability. In 1822 Cotman published two monumental folio volumes, Ancient Architecture of Normandy, and this exhibition aims to put this work in the broader context of his lifelong engagement with buildings, moving on from the general perception that this period was a distraction from Cotman's celebrated lyrical watercolours. The exhibition brings together around 100 of Cotman's drawings, watercolours and prints, allowing comparison of his Normandy work against the background of his earlier architectural work, and presents a further 20 studies by other artists, including Turner, Samuel Prout and Henry Edridge, who also visited Normandy. Among the highlights of Cotman's works are 'Church of St Jacques at Dieppe, the West Front', 'An Old House in the Rue St Jean', 'Cathedral Church of Notre Dame at Rouen', 'A Ruined House', 'Alencon', 'Tower in Normandy', 'Dieppe Harbour' and two paintings of the town of Domfront, which have not been shown together since 1824. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Dulwich, London SE21, until 13th January.
Happy Birthday, Mr Punch celebrates the 350th anniversary of the first recorded sighting in Britain of a Punch And Judy show, in Covent Garden, as mentioned by Samuel Pepys in his diary. It is an exhibition of two parts. Punch Professors In England is a collection of photographs by Tom Hunter of contemporary Punch practitioners, known since Victorian times as 'Professors', who for generations have brought the story of Punch and Judy to life with their wit and personality. These portraits depict each Professor with their booth, expressing their highly individual approaches to their appearance and performance in quintessentially English settings. From the oldest Punch and Judy man in the Britain (who is, in fact, a woman) to a father and daughter Punch and Judy team, these images reveal the unique characters who keep the tradition alive. Each Punch and Judy booth is uniquely decorated and adorned with a beautiful hand painted stage drop, making each one an artwork in its own right, with its own history and tradition. That's The Way To Do It! is a display that delves into Punch's theatrical origins as the charismatic 16th century Italian character Pulcinella, looking at his influence on popular culture and his development into the comedian of the seaside booth we know today. Objects include historic Punch and Judy puppets; Mr Gus Wood's booth, dating from 1912; prints and posters; and the first ever photograph of a Punch and Judy show being watched from 1860. Museum Of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, London E2, until 9th December.
Bronze celebrates the historical, geographical and stylistic range of art's most enduring medium. The exhibition brings together outstanding works from the earliest times to the present in a thematic arrangement, with works spanning over 5,000 years, including Ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan bronzes, and rare survivals from the Medieval period. It features over 150 of the finest bronzes from Asia, Africa and Europe, and includes important discoveries from the Mediterranean, as well as archaeological excavations, many of which have not been seen in Britain before. Different sections focus on the Human Figure, Animals, Groups, Objects, Reliefs, Gods, Heads and Busts. Among the earliest works in the exhibition are the 14th century BC bronze and gold 'Chariot of the Sun'; a Chinese 'Elephant-shaped vessel', from the Shang Dynasty; and the masterpiece of Etruscan art, the 'Chimera of Arezzo'. The Renaissance is represented Ghiberti's 'St Stephen'; Rustici's monumental ensemble of 'St John the Baptist Preaching to a Levite and a Pharisee'; Cellini's modello for 'Perseus'; and works of Donatello; and later, De Vries's relief of 'Vulcan's Forge'; together with works by Giambologna, De Vries and others. Rodin's 'The Age of Bronze'; Matisse's series of four 'Back Reliefs'; Brancusi's 'Danaide', Picasso's 'Baboon and Young'; and works by Moore, Bourgeois and Koons are representative of the best from the 19th century to today. Due to its inherent toughness and resistance, bronze's uses over the centuries have been remarkably varied. A section of the exhibition is devoted to the complex processes involved in making bronzes, exploring how models are made, cast and finished by a variety of different techniques. Royal Academy of Arts until 9th December.
Shakespeare: Staging The World explores the world and works of the world's greatest playwright. The exhibition provides a new insight into the emerging role of London as a world city 400 years ago, interpreted through the perspective of Shakespeare's plays. One of the key innovations of the period was the birth of the modern professional theatre: purpose-built public playhouses and professional playwrights were a new phenomenon, with the most successful company being the company at the Globe who worked alongside their house dramatist, William Shakespeare. The exhibition shows how the playhouse informed, persuaded and provoked thought on the issues of the day; how it shaped national identity, first English, then British; and how it opened a window on the wider world, from Italy to Africa to America, as London's global contacts were expanding through international trade, colonisation and diplomacy. The exhibition features some 190 objects, from great paintings, rare manuscripts, maps, prints, drawings, arms and armour, to modest, everyday items of the time, including the Ides of March coin, the gold aureus commissioned by Brutus shortly after the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC; a portrait of Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud ben Mohammed Anoun, Moroccan Ambassador to Queen Elizabeth I, who may have informed the character of Othello; and items excavated from the sites of the Globe and Rose theatres, such as a sucket fork for sweetmeats and the skull of a bear. British Museum until 25th November.