News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd April 2009


Baroque 1620 - 1800: Style In The Age Of Magnificence features the splendour of one of the most opulent styles of the 17th and 18th centuries. The exhibition reflects the complexity and grandeur of the Baroque style, from the Rome of Borromini and Bernini, to the magnificence of Louis XIV's Versailles, and the lavishness of Baroque theatre and performance. On display are some 200 objects, including silver furniture, portraits, sculpture, a regal bed and court tapestries, which conjure up the rooms of a Baroque palace. Further, the exhibition shows how, as European power and influence spread, Baroque style reached other parts of the world. Highlights include: depictions of the Palace of Versailles, including the Hall of Mirrors and designs for the gardens; rare historic furniture made for Louis XIV; religious paintings by Rubens and Tiepolo; sculpture and architectural designs for St Peter's Basilica and the Cornaro Chapel in Rome; stage sets from theatres such as Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, Italian costumes and musical instruments; the original model for James Gibbs's church St Mary-Le-Strand in London; pearls from the vaults of Augustus the Strong in Dresden; costumes from the Swedish Royal court, and candelabrum from the Swedish Royal chapel; and a gilded altarpiece, sculpture, paintings and furniture from Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Indonesia, the Philippines and India. Victoria & Albert Museum until 19th July.

Assembling Bodies: Art, Science & Imagination aims to challenge pre-conceived notions about the human body, by examining ways that bodies are constructed, known and transformed in various historical, cross-cultural and disciplinary contexts. Presenting insights from anthropology, archaeology, history, classics, bio-medical research and artistic practice, the exhibition brings together an assembly of bodies from different times and places, highlighting multiple definitions of the body, as well as the political implications of the ways that bodies are created and understood. The diverse range of gloriously gristly exhibits embraces: stone tools used by early hominids, classical sculptures, medieval manuscripts, European paintings, medical instruments, ancestral effigies from the Pacific, scientific models, a funerary sculpture that contains and then releases the life force of the deceased, a plaster cast of Aphrodite of Knidos, a depiction of marriage from the earliest European Encyclopedia of the 12th century, Chinese ancestral spirit tablets, a Mongolian household cresta, a Maori child's cloak, Isaac Newton's death mask, 'body maps' of HIV sufferers, a cyborg, and Marc Quinn's 'Genomic Portrait of Professor Sir John Sulston'. All human life - and some. Museum of Archaeology and Anthroplogy, Cambridge, until December 2010.

The Topolsky Century, which recently reopened to the public, is the artist Feliks Topolski's visual record of the personalities and social and political events, of a century that he witnessed and chronicled, during a lifetime spent criss-crossing the five continents. This panoramic diary is a unique cavalcade, pageant and portrait gallery, painted in expressionist style on hardboard panels 20 foot high, which curve snake like 600 feet through the railway arches of Hungerford Bridge, next to the Royal Festival Hall. It is Topolski's pictorial and historical representation, painted over 15 years, from his many hundreds of vivid eyewitness and on the spot drawings and paintings, made during a century of high drama. Topolski donated it to the nation in 1984. There had been a steady deterioration in the condition of the paintings, and it was in urgent need of refurbishment. A £3m programme has seen its restoration and secured its future, and an accompanying interactive project, and the refurbishment of Topolski's nearby original studio as a learning centre, is under way. The Topolski Century, 150-152 Hungerford Bridge, Concert Hall Approach, London, continuing.


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.


A Peep Into Clubland: Cartoons From Private London Clubs, provides a rare chance to enjoy the wit and humour of the rich and varied holdings of cartoons, caricatures and prints from the collections of London's Private Clubs. These collections cover a wide range of subjects, from portraits to political and social satires, which delight and amuse their members, but which are normally inaccessible to ordinary members of the public. Pictures on show include works from the Chelsea Arts Club, the Garrick, the Sketch Club, the Athenaeum, the MCC, the Savage Club, Annabel's, Harry's Bar, Mark's Club and many others. The display of over 100 items embraces works by H M Bateman, James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson, Pont, Heath Robinson, Peter Arno and Phil May amongst others. The Cartoon Museum, London, 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.