Tuesday, May 4, 2010

0.5 the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square

the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square

Tel; 44-20-7747-2885


This gallery serves me very well. It is a place of beauty and serenity, and as I tend to end up at Trafalgar Square, the central transport hub, (I like to ride the buses), it is also a refuge on any rainy day.

free admission, with a request for donations.

Rated as the Number 20 attraction in London, (significant when you realize there are hundreds of fascinating places in this great great metropolis).

Standing on the high ground, above the North Terrace, the National Gallery contains some of the finest works of art in the universe.

This building was intended to be the principal feature of the landscape around Trafalgar Square. The structure proved to be less spectacular than expected, while the collection grew in quantity and quality.

The building


There are four entrances, check this website for details; http://www.streetsensation.co.uk/sights/national_gallery.htm

1 - the Main entrance. Look for the tile work on the top landing of the portico; check this website for details; http://www.thejoyofshards.co.uk/london/natgallery.shtml

2 - The Getty entrance is fairly new, and is wheelchair friendly. It is a useful short-cut to the gallery shop and cafe.

3 - The Sainsbury Wing, on the west side of the main building has its own entrance.

4 - The back door, off St Martin's Street which runs south from Leicester Square, and bisects Orange Street, (runs east-west from Charing Cross Road to Haymarket).

Considered as the National Collection, the National Gallery’s collection is true to the global spectrum of established and world renown paintings, focused primarily on the evolution of Western European art. The approximately 2,300 paintings belong to the British public. It originated when the British Government purchased 36 paintings from a banker, John Julius Angerstein. The collection of exquisite paintings was shown at his home until the National Gallery was completed in 1838.

The collection is arranged chronologically through the four wings.

the Sainsbury Wing, The Renaissance, (1260-1500),

West Wing, 16th Century (1500-1600),

North Wing, 17th Century, (1600-1700) and

East Wing, 18th & 19th Centuries, (1700-1900).

The Collection of the National Gallery


The website also has an interesting page… http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/visiting/10-reasons-to-visit/

The Gallery houses works by Botticelli, Cezanne, Canaletto, Caravaggio, Constable, Leonardo da Vinci, de Hooch, della Francesca, El Greco, Gainsborough, Hans Holbein the Younger, Hogarth, Michelangelo, Monet, Picasso, Raphael, Rembrandt, Renoir, Rubens, Seurat, Titian, Turner, Uccello, van Gogh, van Dyck, Velazquez and Vermeer, to name a few.

And then the unknowns, such as the religious painting known as Wilton Diptych, by a 14th century artist.

The collection is arranged chronologically through the four wings.

the Sainsbury Wing offers items of the Renaissance, (1260-1500),

West Wing has 16th Century paintings, (mostly), (1500-1600),

North Wing, 17th Century, (1600-1700),

East Wing, 18th & 19th Centuries, (1700-1900).

Website for the Collection of the National Gallery... http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/history/collection-history/collection-history

The quality of a painting is in the eye of the beholder, so I'll spare you any opinion. Here are some of the items often recommended.

Jan van Eyck- The Arnolfini Portrait" (1434), http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/jan-van-eyck-the-arnolfini-portrait

Paulo Uccello (1397-1475), The Battle of San Romano. 1438-40, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/paolo-uccello-the-battle-of-san-romano

Piero della Francesca, 'The Baptism of Christ', c. 1450s, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/piero-della-francesca-the-baptism-of-christ

There is a large collection of 15th Century works by Sandro Botticelli, particularly, Venus and Mars, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/sandro-botticelli-venus-and-mars, 1485, and ‘Mystic Nativity’ http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/sandro-botticelli-mystic-nativity

Carlo Crivelli – the Annunciation, with St Emidius, 1486, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/carlo-crivelli-the-annunciation-with-saint-emidius

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Cartoon, c. 1500, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/leonardo-da-vinci-the-leonardo-cartoon, and http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/leonardo-da-vinci-the-virgin-of-the-rocks

Giovanni Bellini (circa 1430-1516), The Doge Leonardo Loredan. c. 1500, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/giovanni-bellini-doge-leonardo-loredan

Raphael, Madonna of the Pinks, circa 1506, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/raphael-the-madonna-of-the-pinks-la-madonna-dei-garofani

Gerard David, Virgin and Child with saints and a donor, c. 1510, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/gerard-david-the-virgin-and-child-with-saints-and-donor

Sebastiano del Piombo's The Raising of Lazarus, 1517 - 19, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/sebastiano-del-piombo-the-raising-of-lazarus


- Bacchus and Ariadne, 1520-3, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/titian-bacchus-and-ariadne

- Diana and Actaeon, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/titian-diana-and-actaeon

- Death of Actaeon, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/titian-the-death-of-actaeon

Hans Holbein the Younger, The Ambassadors, 1533, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/hans-holbein-the-younger-the-ambassadors

da Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi - The Supper at Emmaus, 1601, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio-the-supper-at-emmaus

Peter Paul Rubens' - Samson and Delilah, about 1610, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/peter-paul-rubens-samson-and-delilah, and... The Judgement of Paris, 1632-5, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/peter-paul-rubens-the-judgement-of-paris/350015

Velazquez's "The Immaculate Conception", 1618-19, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/diego-velazquez-the-immaculate-conception

There is a nice collection of work by Nicolas Poussin, highlighted by “A Bacchananlian Revel before a Term”, 1632-3, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/nicolas-poussin-a-bacchanalian-revel-before-a-term

Anthony van Dyck, Equestrian Portrait of Charles I, 1637-8, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/anthony-van-dyck-equestrian-portrait-of-charles-i

Claude Gellée offers a couple of beauties…

Seaport with the Embarkation of Saint Ursula, 1641, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/claude-seaport-with-the-embarkation-of-saint-ursula

and... Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba, 1648, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/claude-seaport-with-the-embarkation-of-the-queen-of-sheba

There is a nice collection by Rembrandt, particularly, Self Portrait, at age 63, (1669), http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/rembrandt-self-portrait-at-the-age-of-63, and Belshazzar’s Feast, 1636-8, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/rembrandt-belshazzars-feast

Diego Velazquez, The Toilet of Venus, now known as "The Rokeby Venus" (1647-51) – loaned to the gallery from the collection at Rokeby Hall, Teesdale, County Durham, Yorkshire since 1906. http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/diego-velazquez-the-toilet-of-venus-the-rokeby-venus

Pieter de Hooch's "The Courtyard of a House in Delft", 1658, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/pieter-de-hooch-the-courtyard-of-a-house-in-delft

Johannes Vermeer, A Young Woman Standing at a Virginal, (c. 1671), http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/johannes-vermeer-a-young-woman-standing-at-a-virginal, and A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, (c. 1671), http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/johannes-vermeer-a-young-woman-seated-at-a-virginal

William Hogarth, Marriage a-la-Mode, (1743), Marriage a-la-Mode is a group, or series, and all can be found here. http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/william-hogarth-marriage-a-la-mode-1-the-marriage-settlement






There is a nice collection by Canaletto - The Stonemason's Yard, 1725, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/canaletto-the-stonemasons-yard, and 'A Regatta on the Grand Canal', c. 1740, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/canaletto-a-regatta-on-the-grand-canal

Gainsborough, Thomas - Mr & Mrs Andrews, 1750, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/thomas-gainsborough-mr-and-mrs-andrews

George Stubbs, Whistlejacket, circa 1762, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/george-stubbs-whistlejacket

John Constable, The Hay Wain, 1821, a scene by the River Stour, near Flatford, Suffolk, U.K., http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/john-constable-the-hay-wain

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - The Umbrellas (1881-86), This painting was done over the span of five years, offering a unique perspective of the artist's evolving style, and the evolution of fashion in Paris, at that time. http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/pierre-auguste-renoir-the-umbrellas

Georges Seurat, Bathers at Asnières. 1884, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/georges-seurat-bathers-at-asnieres

van Gogh, Vincent

- Sunflowers, 1888, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/vincent-van-gogh-sunflowers

- A Wheatfield, with Cypresses, 1889, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/vincent-van-gogh-a-wheatfield-with-cypresses

- Farms near Auvers, 1890, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/vincent-van-gogh-farms-near-auvers

- Long Grass with Butterflies, 1890, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/vincent-van-gogh-long-grass-with-butterflies

Paul Cézanne - The Bathers, circa 1900, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/paul-cezanne-bathers-les-grandes-baigneuses

There is a nice collection by Claude-Oscar Monet, - The Water-Lily Pond" (1899), http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/claude-oscar-monet-the-water-lily-pond

The Japanese Bridge, c. 1919-24, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/claude-oscar-monet-the-japanese-bridge

and other Lily related paintings by the artist, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/claude-oscar-monet-water-lilies, and http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/claude-oscar-monet-water-lilies-setting-sun

One of his London paintings... http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/claude-oscar-monet-the-thames-below-westminster

and one of his “Irises”, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/claude-oscar-monet-irises

and 'Bathers at La Grenouillere', 1869, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/claude-oscar-monet-bathers-at-la-grenouillere

There is a nice collection by Camille Pissarro, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/artists/camille-pissarro

There are a few paintings with regard to St. George and the Dragon, an important topic for the English.

One by Paolo Uccello, c.1470, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/paolo-uccello-saint-george-and-the-dragon, seems to be the most poular

One by Jacopo Tintoretto, c.1555, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/jacopo-tintoretto-saint-george-and-the-dragon

One by Domenichino, 1610, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/domenichino-saint-george-killing-the-dragon, is my favorite.

One by Gustave Moreau, 1889-90, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/gustave-moreau-saint-george-and-the-dragon, is also worthy.

And when I mention my personal favorites, there is a painting that succeeds in offering the tragic end of an innocent girl, at the hands of politicians and power brokers.

Paul Delaroche's 'The Execution of Lady Jane Grey', 1833, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/paul-delaroche-the-execution-of-lady-jane-grey really should be examined up close and personal. a short knowledge of her story is essential to really understand the power of the piece.

another piece, by Turner, is related to Trafalgar Square in that the subject is a ship that fought in the battle, but rather than depict a great moment, its the sad end, is the ship is towed to the wreckers.

"The Fighting Temeraire" (1839), by Joseph Mallord William Turner. , http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/joseph-mallord-william-turner-the-fighting-temeraire

and if you are still looking for more art, here is a list of Other Galleries of Note:

The Tate Britain and Tate Modern, (the Chantrry Bequest), has a great assortment of British art at both facilities.

The Royal Academy at Burlington House.

The Gilbert Collection at Somerset House.

The Hermitage at Somerset House.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, ‘Albertville’, Brompton Road.

The Wallace Collection, Marylebone.

The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace.

Apsley House, at Hyde park Corner.

Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, ( the Iveagh Bequest).

Dulwich Picture Gallery, http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk/, South London.

to mention a few.


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