News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th March 2013


Life And Death In Pompeii And Herculaneum looks at the Roman home and the people who lived in these ill-fated cities. Pompeii and Herculaneum, on the Bay of Naples in southern Italy, were buried by a catastrophic volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in just 24 hours in AD 79. This event ended the life of the cities but at the same time preserved them until rediscovery by archaeologists nearly 1700 years later, and their excavation has provided unparalleled insight into Roman life. This exhibition brings together over 250 objects, embracing both recent discoveries and celebrated finds from earlier excavations, many of which have never before been seen outside Italy. Owing to their different locations the two cities were buried in different ways and this has affected the preservation of materials at each site. Herculaneum was a small seaside town whereas Pompeii was the industrial hub of the region. The exhibition explores the lives of individuals in Roman society, not emperors, gladiators and legionaries, but businessmen, powerful women, freed slaves and children. Among the highlights are a wall painting from Pompeii showing the baker Terentius Neo and his wife, holding writing materials showing they are literate and cultured, plus loaves of bread that were baking in an oven; pieces of wooden furniture that were carbonised by the high temperatures of the ash that engulfed the city, including a linen chest, an inlaid stool, a garden bench and a baby's crib that still rocks on its curved runners; and plaster casts of victims, including a family of 2 adults and their 2 children, huddled together, just as in their last moments under the stairs of their villa, and a dog, fixed forever at the moment of its death as the volcano submerged the city. British Museum until 29th September.

Heaven Is A Home: The Story Of The Brontes' Parsonage is the first exhibition to take place after a £60,000 restoration scheme, following an extensive programme of decorative archaeology. The main rooms have been redecorated and furnished to provide a more authentic picture of how they would have been when the Bronte family lived there in the mid 19th century, and are filled with artefacts and documents relating to the famous literary family. The exhibition tells the stories of all those who lived at the Parsonage both before and after the Brontes, as well as giving fascinating domestic details of the Brontes' own time at the house. Built in 1778, the Parsonage was home to clergymen and their families both before and after the Reverend Patrick Bronte's incumbency. From the Brontes' time living in the house there are letters, sketches and documents, detailing how the house was organised and decorated, what kind of lighting and heating they used, and what housework they did. Since 1928 the house has been a museum, but the building's secret life, includes Second World War soldiers billeted next door in the Old Schoolroom, and generations of curators and their families living on the premises until the 1970s. The Bronte Parsonage Museum, Haworth, exhibition until December.

George Bellows: Modern American Life is the first retrospective of works by the American realist painter to be held in Britain. George Bellows's fascination with New York's gritty urban landscape, its technological marvels and the diversity of its inhabitants, made him both an artist of the modern city and an insightful observer of the dynamic and challenging decades of the early 20th century. Bellows's career encompassed a range of subject matter and the exhibition explores the principle themes of his work, featuring boxing fights, cityscapes, views of the Hudson River, social scenes, seascapes, portraits and the First World War, in 71 paintings, drawings and lithographs. Bellows was a lifelong sportsman and his most celebrated work 'Stag at Sharkey's', depicts a prize fight at Tom Sharkey's Athletic Club, a bar located directly across the street from his studio, and a theme revisited with 'Dempsey and Firpo'. He was especially drawn to Manhattan's Lower East Side, finding subject matter in the chaotic scenes of downtown New York, where immigrants lived within the crowded tenement buildings captured in 'Forty-two Kids', depicting children bathing in the polluted waters of the East River. Cityscapes include 'New York, 1911', 'Men of the Docks', and 'Pennsylvania Excavation' depicting the excavations of the Pennsylvania Railroad Station. Royal Academy of Arts until 9th June.


Murillo & Justino de Neve: The Art Of Friendship celebrates the relationship of the canon of Seville Cathedral and the Spanish Baroque painter. Don Justino de Neve was a friend and patron of painter Bartolome Esteban Murillo, and his commissions made a significant contribution to Murillo's body of work. This exhibition brings together over 30 paintings documenting their relationship. To provide a suitable setting, a section of the gallery's enfilade has been transformed into an evocation of a 17th century Sevillian church. Three large lunettes are hung at height, with 'The Immaculate Conception of the Venerables Sacerdotes' forming the high altarpiece, the first time that it has been reunited with its striking altar-frame in Britain. The display includes 'The Baptism of Christ', 'The Infant Saint John the Baptist with the Lamb', 'The Penetent Saint Peter', 'Three Boys', 'Invitation to a Game of Argolla', a self portrait, and a portrait of Justino de Neve. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London SE21, until 19th May.

Murillo: Painting Of The Spanish Golden Age is an accompanying exhibition comprising works by Bartolome Esteban Murillo and his workshop and associates, Francisco Meneses Osorio and Juan Simon Gutierrez. Highlights include Murillo's 'The Marriage of the Virgin', 'The Adoration of the Shepherds', 'Joseph and his Bretheren' and 'Rest on the Flight into Egypt'. The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1, until 12th May.

R B Kitaj: Obsessions - Analyst For Our Time is a retrospective of the American born, London resident, artist who created work with strong autobiographical elements exploring some of the central questions of the 20th century. During the 1960s R B Kitaj, together with his friends Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach and Lucian Freud, were instrumental in pioneering a new, figurative art that defied the trend in abstraction and conceptualism. From the mid 1970s, Kitaj began to position himself explicitly as a Jewish artist coupled with his study of role models such as Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, and Walter Benjamin. Confronting the history of the Holocaust, and reflecting on his identity as an outsider, he created a Jewish modern art, which he termed 'diasporic', with a rich palate of colour and enigmatic, recurring motifs. The exhibition comprises over 50 major paintings, sketches and prints presenting an overview of all periods of Kitaj's work from the 1960s to his death in 2007. It considers Kitaj's early presentations of a fragmented world, reflecting his interest in art history and intellectuals, and his paintings and collages addressing issues of European politics, philosophy and literature such as 'The Murder of Rosa Luxembourg' and 'The Rise of Fascism'. Also included are portraits of personal friends and figures he admired, such as his portrait of David Hockney, 'The Neo-Cubist', and fictional characters from literature such as 'The Arabist'. His fascination with the relationship between the body, sexuality and history is reflected in a series of powerful paintings of bathers including 'Self-Portrait as a Woman' and 'The Sensualist'. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 16th June.

The Micrarium: A Place For Tiny Things provides a unique opportunity to explore microscopic specimens. It's often said that 95% of known animal species are smaller than a human thumb, yet most museums fill their displays with big animals. The aim of Micrarium is to right this wrong, and it does so in a spectacular way. An old storeroom has been converted into a walk in light box - a back-lit cave, lined wall-to-wall with over 2,000 microscope slides. These show miniscule specimens, such as beetles sliced along their entire length - through head, legs, body, even antennae; the legs of fleas showing the muscles, strangely arranged on the slide to be reminiscent of the coat of arms of the Isle of Man; and a whole squid, just a couple of millimetres long. In addition, there are tiny pieces of giant animals, including whales, mammoths and giraffes. The specimens are infused with the vivid colours of biological stains and annotated with handwritten labels, exemplifying their creator's meticulous documentation of exploration and discovery. Museums very rarely put objects like this on display to the public, and this is an experiment in finding an aesthetic way of doing so. Grant Museum of Zoology, Rockefeller Building, University College London, 21 University Street, London WC1, continuing.

Treasures Of The Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts And The Russian Tsars examines the development of cultural diplomacy and trade between Britain and Russia from its origins in 1555. The exhibition reveals the majesty and pageantry of the royal courts from Henry VIII to Charles II, and Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) to the early Romanovs, as they sought to strengthen their power against a backdrop of religious and social upheaval. Comprising more than 150 objects, the display chronicles the ritual and chivalry of the royal courts, with heraldry, processional armour and sumptuous textiles, including furnishings and fine clothing. The leading figures of the time including monarchs, diplomats, wealthy merchants and courtiers are introduced through portraiture, including paintings and miniatures by court artists, while magnificent examples of jewellery and luxury goods illustrate the valuable gifts presented by ambassadors. Highlights include the rarely shown Hampden portrait of Elizabeth I; the Barbor jewel, a pendant of enamelled gold set with an onyx cameo of Elizabeth I; a hand-coloured map of Muscovy from 1570; the Drake Star, a cameo cut with a black male and white female head in profile, in an elaborate enamelled gold setting, with further diamonds, rubies and pearls; contemporary literature, including a Shakespeare First Folio; a silver Dolphin Basin made in by Christiaen van Vianen; a heraldic sculpture over 2m high, comprising a bull, a gryphon, a ram and a salmon, carved from a single oak; and a suit of armour made for Henry VIII by the Royal Almain Armoury in Greenwich, alongside The Almain Album, a unique record containing 29 bespoke armour designs by Jacob Halder for high ranking Elizabethan courtiers. Victoria & Albert Museum until 14th July.

From Death To Death And Other Small Tales highlights the significance of the body as a theme in 20th and 21st century art. The exhibition of over 120 works offers a unique opportunity to explore the many and varied approaches that artists have taken across several decades when dealing with this most fundamental of subjects. Through innovative and often surprising configurations, the exhibition stages confrontations between the past and present, sculpture and painting, expressive and minimal forms, to illuminate the diverse ways in which artists have approached the subject of the body. Many of the most significant names in post-war and contemporary art are represented, figures whose output and ideas have shaped the way in which subsequent generations of artists have developed and others continue to emerge. Artists featured in the exhibition include Marina Abramovic, Matthew Barney, Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, Helen Chadwick, Marcel Duchamp, Tracy Emin, Robert Gober, Mike Kelley, Sarah Lucas, Paul McCarthy, Ana Mendieta, Pablo Picasso and Rachel Whiteread. The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, until 8th September.

Poster Art 150 - London Underground's Greatest Designs showcases 150 of outstanding posters, as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of world's first underground railway. The exhibition features Underground posters by many famous artists including Edward McKnight Kauffer and Paul Nash, and designs from each decade over the last 100 years, selected from an archive of over 3,300. Well known posters, including the surrealist photographer Man Ray's 'Keeps London Going' pair, feature alongside lesser known gems, with a rare opportunity to view letter-press posters from the late 19th century. The exhibition focuses on six themes: Finding Your Way, including maps and etiquette posters, plus messages to reassure passengers by showing them what the Underground is like; Brightest London, celebrating nights out and sporting events, showing the brightest side of London; Capital Culture, about cultural encounters, be these at the zoo or galleries and museums; Away From It All, looking at the way posters encouraged people to escape, to the country, the suburbs and enjoy other leisure pursuits; Keeps London Going, featuring posters about how the Underground has kept London on the move through its reliability, speed and improvements in technology; and Love Your City, showing the best of London's landmarks as featured in posters over the years. London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, until 27th October.


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.

Giorgio Morandi: Lines Of Poetry features some 80 etchings and watercolours by the Italian artist who was a master of poetic understatement. Although Giorgio Morandi was entirely self-taught as a printmaker, he quickly mastered the technique, and restricted only in subject matter, his still lifes, landscapes and flower studies reveal a stylistic versatility and passion for experimentation. Morandi's stark black and white images are entirely composed of cross hatchings, so regular and sharp that they resemble machine made stitches running back and forth at complex anglers. Also in the exhibition are a number of Morandi's watercolours, works that are rarely seen in Britain. More than any others, these paintings exemplify Morandi's ability to distil the essence of a complex scene or composition into an arrangement of near-abstract forms. Notable for their restraint and extraordinary economy of means, these images are intensely evocative of time and place.

Nino Migliori: Imagined Landscapes comprises reworked Polaroid images by the renowned Italian photographer. Created by Nino Migliori during the mid 1980s, these works form a series entitled 'Imagined Landscapes: The Places of Morandi' and explore the Grizzana landscape beloved by Morandi and immortalised in many of his works. Best known for his black and white neo-realist images of life in 1950s Italy, these works reveal a different side to Migliori's research in which the photograph is merely the starting point for an image that aspires not simply to document a moment in time or a specific location, but to express something of its emotional resonance.

Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39A Canonbury Square, London N1, until 7th April.

Roger Mayne: Aspects Of A Great Photographer features the work of the photographer who made his name when he sought to record a way of life in a rundown area of North Kensington in the late 1950s, before it was redeveloped as part of a slum clearance scheme. Working with a lightweight Zeiss Super Ikonta camera and bolstered by gaining the trust of his subjects, Roger Mayne was able to capture the vigour and poverty around him. His pictures have added poignancy as they chronicle the end of an era when it was still safe for children to play in the streets. From the 1960s onwards, Mayne turned his eye to similar outdoor scenes in Leeds, Sheffield, Glasgow, the Mediterranean, Japan and China, latterly focusing on the development of his own children and grandchildren. Mayne's many friendships with leading artists of the day influenced his approach and resulted in telling portraits of Henry Moore, Terry Frost, Roger Hilton, Gillian Ayres and others. Also included in the exhibition are some of Mayne's lyrical and expressive drawings of landscapes and nudes. By surveying all aspects of Mayne's career, this exhibition highlights less well known aspects of his work and proves that photography can be as creative an art form as painting and sculpture. Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, until 7th April.