Archives for The National Gallery

Van Eyck Exhibition Opens at National Gallery, London

A NEW show of the work of Van Eyck is opening at the National Gallery in London.  This autumn, his oil painting the Arnolfini portrait, is set to be exhibited at the National Gallery, providing a unique opportunity to view Pre-Raphaelite paintings next to the work that inspired them. The National Gallery received the Arnolfini portrait in 1842 and immediately captivated the Victorian audience. The Netherlandish/Flemish Van Eyck is one of the most significant representatives of Northern Renaissance art.

'Portrait of Giovanni(?) Arnolfini and his Wife' or 'The Arnolfini Portrait'Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife 1434 by Jan Van Eyck, Courtesy of The National Gallery London

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was made up of a group of young artists who sparked a revolution in British art. The Convex mirror in the Arnolfini painting is a key motif and it led the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood to explore the themes of distortion, doubling, and reflection. The painting has left an imprint on the Pre-Raphaelites’ work, spreading its motifs like the mirror device, seen in Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and a pair of pointed slippers seen in Holman Hunt’s The Lady of Shalott.

mirror-final-versionConvex Mirror owned by Gabriel Dante Rossetti, Courtesy of Kelmscott Manor

The convex mirror has been an important source of inspiration for many generations of artists and so Van Eyck’s influence lives on.

by Marco Pretara

The exhibition, Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelite’s is on from October 2, 2017 until April 2, 2018 at the National Gallery, London WC2N 5DN
Tel: 020 7747 2885
Email: information@ng-london.org.uk

Front Page Image: Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife 1434 by Jan Van Eyck, Courtesy of The National Gallery London

National Gallery Shows Masterpieces by Michelangelo and Sebastiano

AN UNUSUAL relationship between the Renaissance master, Michelangelo and lesser known Venetian artist, Sebastiano del Piombo is the focus of a new exhibition at The National Gallery in London. The show, which opens this spring, endeavours to gain greater recognition for Sebastiano whose talents have been largely overshadowed by his association with Michelangelo but whose work was highly regarded by 19th century collectors.

Their creative partnership, which is evidenced through paintings, sculptures and working drawings, took place during a time of great political upheaval, heated theological debate and in powerful opposition to their artistic rival, Raphael. Central to the show are Michelangelo and Sebastiano’s remarkable collection of original letters, which disclose the intriguing details of their professional and personal life and whose writing styles reveal much about the artists’ respective personalities.

The National Gallery, Michelangelo, Sebastiano, painting, sculpture, drawing, lettersThe Visitation by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1518-19, Musée du Louvre, Département des Peintures, Paris, Courtesy of RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Hervé Lewandowski

Michelangelo’s controversial sculpture, The Risen Christ, condemned by the biographer Romain Rolland to be “the coldest and dullest thing he ever did”, although much-admired by the artist’s contemporaries, is displayed for the first time in contrast with a plaster cast from his second version. The exhibition also presents a rare opportunity to view Sebastiano’s work, the Lamentation over the Dead Christ, also known as Viterbo Pietà which marks the beginning of the artists’ collaboration.

The National Gallery, Michelangelo, Sebastiano, painting, sculpture, drawing, lettersChrist carrying the Cross by Sebastiano del Piombo, c.1513-14.
Courtesy of Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

Sebastiano, who was ten years younger than Michelangelo, was born in Venice 1485. The artists first met in Rome while Michelangelo was just completing  work on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.  Sebastiano, a talented oil painter was an ideal partner for Michelangelo who was eager to undermine the success of his rival, Raphael.

After their initial success with Viterbo Pietà, the artists collaborated on two other major projects, the decoration of the Borgherini Chapel in S. Pietro and the Raising of Lazarus which was created in fierce opposition to Raphael’s Transformation for the Cathedral of Norbonne in France. However, their friendship ended acrimoniously when Sebastiano tried to force Michelangelo to paint the Last Judgement for the Sistine Chapel in oils rather than his preferred medium of fresco.

The National Gallery, Michelangelo, Sebastiano, painting, sculpture, drawing, lettersLamentation over the Dead Christ by Sebastiano del Piombo, c.1512-16,
Museo Civico, Viterbo. Courtesy of Comune di Viterbo

by Miranda Charalambous

The Credit Suisse exhibition, Michelangelo & Sebastiano opens from 15 March to 25 June 2017 at The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN.

Email: information@ng-london.org.uk

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7747 2885

Front page image: The Visitation by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1518-19, Musée du Louvre, Département des Peintures, Paris, Courtesy of RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Hervé Lewandowski