3-2-C: The National Gallery, London

3-2-C is a new series of blog posts devoted to presenting an alternative selection of ‘must-see’ exhibits from museums and galleries in the UK and around the world. Everyone thinks they know the National Gallery, especially art historians and enthusiasts. They look at Hans Holbein the Younger’s The Ambassadors (1533), Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait…

There’s more to Marcantonio Raimondi than just porn!

‘[…] Giulio Romano caused Marc’ Antonio to engrave twenty plates showing all the various ways, attitudes, and positions in which licentious men have intercourse with women; and, what was worse, for each plate Messer Pietro Aretino wrote a most indecent sonnet, insomuch that I know not which was the greater, the offence to the eye…

The Return of Flaming June

Among an unfettered mass of dark crimson and pale olive draperies a young woman dressed in radiant orange sleeps peacefully. In the distance lies endless Mediterranean waters, shimmering in the gleaming sun; a mountainous island appears beyond the afternoon haze. She sleeps against a marble bench and parapet, her head leaning into her bent arm…

A Sense of Rembrandt

Leiden, 1624. After a six-month apprenticeship with the painter Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, a young, 18-year-old Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn moved back to his native city of Leiden and opened his own studio in 1624 or 1625. Sometime within this period of artistic development, Rembrandt painted an elusive set of five paintings, The Five Senses…

Picasso Portraits – friendships immortalised

Picasso. One mention of this elusive name sparks headlines of paintings selling for millions. But who was he? Beneath the external skin of artistic genius, who exactly was the painter of the enormous Guernica (1937) or the earlier, highly controversial Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)? Who was Pablo Picasso? The National Portrait Gallery’s latest Picasso Portraits…

Pre-Raphaelites on Paper: Victorian Drawings from the Lanigan Collection – Leighton House Museum

This article was first published (without images) in The Courtauldian. Leighton House Museum’s latest exhibition is a commemoration of a promised gift to the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, from one of the most significant private collections in North America. The group of eighty drawings was collected by Dr Dennis T. Lanigan, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon whose fascination…

Greek art manifested! – Defining Beauty at the British Museum

Greco-Roman sculpture has always been a source of intrigue for generations of artists, collectors, connoisseurs, and even tourists. The Venus de Milo in the Museé du Louvre is one of the most popular exhibits and has been a symbol of ideal female beauty and sophisticated taste for many art critics over the years. When the…

MADDER – it’s all in the preparation

Two years ago the Griffin Gallery in West London launched its first Griffin Art Prize competition for UK-based artists who graduated within the past five years. The winner of the prize is awarded a six-month residency at the Griffin Gallery and Studios, resulting in a solo exhibition at the gallery with a published catalogue. They…

Deloitte Ignite 14 – Myth comes to the Royal Opera House

Over the weekend the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden launched its annual contemporary arts festival Deloitte Ignite, now in its seventh year, with a series of free public events. The month-long festival (5th-28th September 2014) brings together dance and the visual arts, leading to a collaboration between the Royal Ballet and the National Gallery’s…

Louvre Abu Dhabi – a new collection awaits

The art world is about to get a little bit more exciting as the Louvre opens the doors to a new museum in Abu Dhabi in December 2015. The Louvre Abu Dhabi seeks to be a universal museum, embracing cross-cultural similarities instead of differences with its newly-bought collection. The Musée du Louvre’s Louvre Abu Dhabi:…