Private View held by Richard Andrews
Vermeer And Music: The Art Of Love And Leisure explores the concept of music as one the most popular motifs in Dutch painting, and as a daily pastime of the elite in the Netherlands during the 17th century. The exhibition features some of the most beautiful and evocative paintings by Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries, alongside musical instruments and songbooks of the period. It provides an opportunity to compare 17th century virginals, guitars, lutes and other instruments with the paintings, to judge the accuracy of the depictions, and understand the artistic liberties the painters might have taken - and why - to enhance the visual appeal of their work. Forming the centrepiece are paintings by Johannes Vermeer portraying female musicians 'A Young Woman standing at a Virginal', 'A Young Woman seated at a Virginal', and 'The Guitar Player', together with 'The Music Lesson'. Music carried many diverse associations in 17th century Dutch painting. In portraits, a musical instrument or songbook might suggest the talent or sophistication of the sitter, while in still lifes or scenes of everyday life, it might act as a metaphor for harmony, a symbol of transience or, depending on the type of music being performed, an indicator of education and position in society. The depictions of domestic musical performances range from contemplative images of single musicians to lively concerts and amorous encounters between music-master and pupil. In addition to works by Vermeer, the exhibition includes paintings by Gerard ter Borch, Gabriel Metsu, Jan Steen, Pieter de Hooch and Godfried Schalcken. There are also occasional live performances by the Academy of Ancient Music, which aim to bring the paintings to life with music of the period. National Gallery until 8th September.
Curiosity explores the pleasure that comes from the search for the wondrous and bizarre for their own sake - and the contradictory nature of that pleasure. Like the cabinet of curiosities of the 17th century, which mixed science and art, ancient and modern, reality and fiction, this exhibition combines knowledge and pleasure. It juxtaposes historical periods and categories of objects to produce an eccentric map of curiosity in its many senses. The overstuffed Horniman Museum walrus, brought back from Canada by the Victorian hunter James Henry Hubbard, has travelled to the seaside having left its current home for the first time since the 1890s, to sit alongside works by contemporary artists, including Katie Paterson's images of deep space; and Gerard Byrne's images of the Loch Ness Monster. The display exposes past and present fascinations such as astronomy, animals, maps and humankind's obsession with collecting, blurring the boundaries of art, science and fantasy. Historical artefacts include intricate pen and ink studies by Leonardo da Vinci; Albrecht Durer's Rhinoceros woodcut; bird studies by JMW Turner; late 19th century models of aquatic creatures by German glassmakers Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka; the coloured stone collection of Roger Caillois; the diarist and botanist John Evelyn's cabinet, a highly decorated portable storage box made to house curiosities; ivory anatomical models from the 17th and 18th centuries; Robert Hooke's Micrographia with its detailed illustration of a flea; and a penguin collected from one of Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic expeditions. Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate, until 15th September.
Lights, Camera, London! shows how London has been the setting - and often the star - of films for over a century. London was one of the cities where moving pictures began in the 1890s, and Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee provided the new entertainment medium with its earliest global box office success in 1897. Using film extracts and stills, together with rare costumes and props, the exhibition reveals the range of what Samuel Johnson called 'the wonderful immensity of London'. There are sections devoted to the capital's diverse communities, and to its working life, including the once famous markets, which can now only be seen on film. London's leading role in music and fashion during the 1960s is celebrated, alongside the writers whose careers it made, from Shakespeare to Dickens and Wilde. Heroic images of London's survival during the Second World War contrast with apocalyptic fantasies of the city being destroyed, while 'Gaslight' and 'Underworld' sections evoke the most popular images of the Victorian city, with its sinister secrets, and the long tradition of London criminals and the detectives who pursued them. Two of the most popular of all London genres are British monarchs, appearing in in reality public and imagined in their private lives, and the distinctive humour of Londoners, as reflected in Ealing comedies. In addition, the exhibition acknowledges London's continuing involvement in filmmaking, and in the new technologies of sound and image as a centre of post-production. London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden WC2, continuing.
Visions Of The Universe charts the development of telescopy, photography and our understanding of our place in the cosmos. The exhibition brings together over 100 images of space, revealing the role that astronomers played in pushing forward the technology of cameras and telescopes, so that we can now see the weather on distant planets, and look past the Milky Way into galaxies beyond. It offers a visual trip through our solar system encountering images of the Moon, Sun, the planets and deep space, before coming back to Earth to a selection of images that reflect our fascination with the night sky. The photographs include the latest cutting edge images captured by NASA, the Russian space programme and some of the greatest telescopes in the world. With views of the aurora on the surface of Saturn, the spectacular clouds of colourful dust in which new stars are forming thousands of light years away, and the dizzying sight of Earth as seen from the International Space Station, the display celebrates the aesthetic beauty of space photography, as well as the scientific discoveries that advances in technology have allowed. In photographs taken from the far side of Saturn, using UV light, infrared and radar, combining cameras and telescopes, astronomers can see vistas that are impossible to discern from earth. The centrepiece is the 'Mars Window' - a 13m by 4m curved wall onto which the latest images beamed back by NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover are projected, creating the impression of looking through a giant window out onto the rocky Martian landscape. Highlights from the past include: the first astronomical image ever taken; Edwin Hubble's 1923 photograph that confirmed the existence of galaxies beyond our own; the 1969 image of the first human to walk on the moon; and the astronomical photograph that helped to prove the General Theory of Relativity. National Maritime Museum until 15th September.
Stradivarius celebrates the life and work of the only maker of musical instruments whose name ranks alongside those of the great composers. This is the first major exhibition devoted to the work of Antonio Stradivari ever to be held in Britain. It puts on show 21 of his most important and well-preserved instruments, some of which have never before been displayed in public, to reveal the brilliance of his craft. These instruments are the finest and most beautiful of their kind, with 11 dating from Stradivari's 'Golden Period', between 1700 and 1720, when he was the height of his creative powers, and making instruments that became the classic models on which later violins and cellos were based. Among the star items are the 'Viotti' violin of 1709, which belonged to the violinist Giovanni Battista Viotti, who did more than anyone to establish the fame of Stradivari's violins in the early 19th century; the 'Batta-Piatigorsky' cello of 1714, played by the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky; and the 'Messiah' violin, Stradivari's best-preserved and most famous remaining instrument. There is also a recreation of Stradivari's workshop, displaying his original tools, wooden models and patterns, which allow visitors to follow the creation of a violin from a log of spruce wood through to the finished instrument, and to explore the techniques and artistry of violin making. Recordings and interviews with leading musicians provide an opportunity to hear some of Stradivari's instruments that are still being played. There is an accompanying display of paintings, etchings, drawings and photographs, providing background to Stradivari and his instruments. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 11th August.
Patrick Caulfield surveys the work of the British painter known for his iconic and vibrant paintings of modern life, which reinvigorated traditional genres as still life. The exhibition traces the development of Patrick Caulfield's distinctive style. Early on in his career Caulfield rejected gestural brushstrokes for the more anonymous techniques of sign-writers, characterised by flat areas of colour defined by outlines. In the 1970s he began combining different styles of representation, such as trompe-l'oeil, to create highly complex paintings that play with definitions of reality and artifice. This shift coincided with a change in subject matter to topics that directly engaged with the contemporary social landscape and the representation of modern life, and remained his focus for the rest of his career. Over 30 works have been brought together to represent the key moments of Caulfield's career, including popular paintings such as 'Pottery', 'Dining Recess', 'After Lunch' and 'Interior with a Picture'; shown alongside lesser known works such as 'Bend in the Road' and 'Tandoori Restaurant'; as well as later paintings such as 'Bishops', and his final work 'Braque Curtain'.
Gary Hume, running in parallel, offers the chance to see a complementary British painter from a different generation. The exhibition highlights Gary Hume's innovative use of colour, line and surface over the last 20 years. Hume first received critical acclaim in the early 1990s with his large-scale paintings based on hospital doors boldly rendered in high gloss paint. This early focus evolved over subsequent decades to encompass a range of subjects: figures such as mothers and babies, friends and celebrities, as well as images drawn from nature or childhood including flowers, birds and snowmen. The display brings together 24 works in which recognisable forms are sometimes fragmented to near abstraction. The original source image may be left far behind as shapes emerge in the paintings through vibrant areas of colour, whilst lines are articulated as thin ridges of paint that disrupt the surface and the eye. Highlights include iconic early works such as 'Tony Blackburn' and 'Blackbird', as well as major recent paintings such as 'Red Barn Door'.
Tate Britain until 1st September.
The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,250 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 11,000 submissions, from 27 countries, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. The majority of works are for sale, offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original artwork by both high profile and up and coming artists. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Norman Ackroyd and Eva Jiricna. Among the highlights are Grayson Perry's series of 6 contemporary tapestries 'The Vanity of Small Differences', inspired by Hogarth's 'A Rake's Progress'; a room dedicated to portraiture, with new works by Frank Auerbach, Tom Phillips, Michael Craig-Martin and Alex Katz; a new large-scale sculpture by Anthony Caro; and works by Ron Arad, Sean Scully and Jock McFadyen. The Royal Academy of Arts until 18th August.
Blooming Marvellous reveals 400 years of botanical art that helped scientists learn about plants. Before the invention of microscopes, illustrations were an important tool for studying plants, and botanical artists were recruited on early scientific expeditions around the world, to record species never before seen in Europe in drawings, notebooks and paintings. This exhibition features important botanical art, including watercolours, pen sketches and drawings, much of which date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Among the artists whose works are included are: Sydney Parkinson, a member of Captain Cook's voyage to the South Pacific, who produced 1,000 plant drawings, although he did not survive the return journey; Georg Dionysius Ehret, who developed a new style of illustration that showed the parts of the flower separately and in greater detail, making it easier for scientists to study them, which has been used by botanical illustrators ever since; Franz Bauer, the first paid botanical artist at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, who is still regarded as one of the most technically sophisticated botanical artists of all time; and Arthur Harry Church, who developed a new style of illustration influenced by the decorative Art Nouveau movement to reveal the intricate internal structures of flowers. In addition, the exhibition includes examples of preserved plants. It also reveals how today, scanning electron microscope can magnifies specimens up to 250,000 times their size, allowing scientists to explore far beyond the reaches of the human eye to help appreciate the scientific value and beauty of plants in an entirely new way. Natural History Museum, Akeman Street, Tring, Hertfordshire, until 18th August.
Poetry In Sound: The Music Of Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976) explores the literary, political and historical inspirations behind some of greatest works of Britain's foremost composer of the 20th century. Benjamin Britten's compositional output spans almost every musical genre, from opera to string quartets to solo songs. Instantly recognisable, his music is imbued with the spirit of his time and place, yet it transcends cultural and geographical boundaries. This exhibition explores the poetic and literary influences on his distinctive musical sound world, including his creative collaboration with W H Auden, and his settings of texts by such authors as William Blake, Wilfred Owen, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Henry James and William Shakespeare. The display includes Britten's handwritten manuscripts, as well as photographs, letters, first editions and unique sound recordings. On public display for the first time is the draft score of 'The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra', which reveals the fluency with which Britten was able to construct a large-scale work. The manuscript is displayed alongside Wilfred Owen's first draft of his poem 'Anthem for Doomed Youth', one of several Owen poems that Britten incorporated into his 'War Requiem'; a signed manuscript of Britten's adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream; and a programme for the first performance of 'Gloriana' at the Royal Opera House in 1953 as part of the official Coronation festivities. Rarely heard sound recordings in the exhibition include an unknown live recording from the first production of 'Paul Bunyan', accompanied by photographs of the little known 1941 production at Columbia University in New York. British Library until 15th September.
Portraits By Contemporary Photographers features a selection from the gallery's recently acquired additions to its photographic collection, which increases by around 300 every year, ranging from the 19th century to the present day. The portraits in this display include actors Damian Lewis by Spencer Murphy, David Morrissey by Jillian Edelstein and Maxine Peake by Jonathan Oakes. Musicians include nu-folk singer Laura Marling by Ben Toms, the composer Nitin Sawhney by Joss McKinley and singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran by Steve Schofield, who also contributed his portrait of crime writer Martina Cole. In addition, 4 environmental portraits by Denis Waugh, originally taken in the 1980s and 1990s for the Observer series 'A Room of My Own' are featured, including conservators Martin Wyld and Jill Dunkerton with 'The Incredulity of St Thomas' by Cima da Conegliano in the National Gallery's conservation studio; and Marianne Faithfull in her sparse West London flat. Also shown for the first time is Alistair Morrison's 2011 recreation of Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper', for which leading actors joined Morrison over a 24 hour period to build up the group portrait, with Robert Powell portraying Christ. National Portrait Gallery, until 7th July.
Leon Kossoff: London Landscapes provides a unique opportunity to see drawings and related paintings offering a distinctive view of the capital over the last 60 years. London is the city where Leon Kossoff was born and grew up, and which he has mined with extraordinary invention throughout his working life. The exhibition includes over 90 drawings and 10 paintings, spanning Kossoff's career, from City bomb sites of the early 1950's to recent drawings of Arnold Circus, a community of redbrick buildings off Shoreditch High Street, which were London's most radical experiment in social housing when they were unveiled in 1900. Kossoff's London opens up between these two poles to reveal his feel for quickness and change: buildings on the point of demolition; the railway network as the process of electrification begins; swimming pools swarming with children; streets; schools; grand London churches that serve successive waves of immigrants (Huguenot, Jewish, Bengali); stations; back gardens; and trains - overground and underground - carrying millions of Londoners in and out of the city, day after day, as the city transforms itself around them. These dark and dour landscapes chart an arc across north London from Willesden to Bethnal Green - not the most attractive parts of the city - in a historic sweep, and reveal an area that Kossoff has made peculiarly his own. Annely Juda Fine Art, 23 Dering Street, off New Bond Street, London W1, until 6th July.
In Cloud Country: Abstracting From Nature - From John Constable To Rachel Whiteread is a unique anthology from the 18th to the 21st century that examines what has inspired generations of artists to make observations from nature that lead them to formal or symbolic abstraction. Whether it is atmospheric phenomena, the linear or textural qualities of the botanical world or their political and metaphoric potential, artists' studies from nature offer a breathtaking range of abstractions. These artists have made studies of plants and of land, sea or skyscapes, and then translated what they have seen or felt, into a staggering array of different artistic strategies. The 18th century watercolourist John Sell Cotman uses pencil to capture the dynamism of light falling on trees by a riverbank; the fleeting volumes of cumulous clouds are trapped by John Constable in his intense oil studies; Henry Moore uses the branches of a tree to make vein like traceries of lines; Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone uses drawing to resurrect the tree that has been subsumed in a domestic plank of wood; and Rachel Whiteread takes a symbol of the Arts & Crafts movement, the Tree of Life, and translates it into a contemporary icon. The exhibition brings together some 60 works on paper by some of the world's most acclaimed artists including Thomas Girtin, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, Joan Miro, William Morris, Julian Opie, Chris Ofili and JMW Turner. Harewood House, Harewood, Yorkshire, until 30th June.