‘My dearest compare’: Michelangelo & Sebastiano

‘All the discords that arose between Pope Julius and me were owing to the envy of Bramante and Raphael of Urbino […] And Raphael had good reason to be envious, since what he knew of art he learnt from me.’ (Michelangelo from Rome to an unknown addressee, October-November 1542) What do you get when you…

3-2-C: The National Gallery, London

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 (1434), and Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers (1888), thinking they’ve seen it all. On the odd occasion, they might view Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne (1520-23) or Caravaggio’s The Supper…

A Sunflower reunion

Drawing many a crowd to one of London’s busiest squares, two world-famous paintings by none other than the Dutch Impressionist Vincent van Gogh have been reunited in Room 46 of the National Gallery for the first time in 65 years. The reunion was made possible by the friendship between the National Gallery and the Van…

Modern portraiture – the Old and the New Viennese

Vienna, also known as the City of Music, was an area where many great composers found their place in musical history, icons such as Mozart, Brahms and Mahler. Theatres and opera houses filled the city with world-class music, attracting tourists and immigrants from across the Empire. During the years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918), Vienna…

Vermeer and the role of music

I assume many of us are familiar with Johannes Vermeer’s painterly masterpiece entitled Girl with a Pearl Earring (c. 1665), on display at the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshius in The Hague, the Netherlands. Well, unfortunately, the National Gallery’s latest exhibition doesn’t have anything to do with this painting, but it draws on a theme that…

Michael Landy – where creation meets destruction, where the old meets the new

Recently, the National Gallery has become a little bit more…noisy. Queues of people are lining up in the Central Hall surrounded by 16th century Northern Italian paintings, while others exit into the Spanish room where Velázquez’s ‘Rokeby Venus’ (1646-51) resides. Something’s happening in the Sunley Room, and this time, Michael Landy takes centre stage.

Federico Barocci – where Renaissance meets Baroque

This Wednesday just happened to be the day of Baroness Margaret Thatcher’s funeral service, of which I took the opportunity to witness first-hand. I arrived at St Paul’s Cathedral shortly after 10am and struggled to find a nice spot that didn’t have at least 10-12 people in front of it already. Also I was rather…