Posts Tagged ‘Art Gallery’

Ingenious Impressions – Hunterian

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

Quite recently I visited this exhibition which is in the Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow and I absolutely loved it.

The Exhibition draws on the extensive research of a five year project to catalogue the University of Glasgow’s collection of fifteenth century printed books and gives you a background to each of the books as well as explaining how they were produced, collected and then bequeathed to the University.

The exhibition space is dimly lit, which is to preserve the books, but the accompanying text panels are well lit and a clever use of mirrors allows you to see many of the ornate covers and bindings hidden beneath.

My particular favourites included the Roman Breviary, the Calendar and the Canon of Medicine. A Breviary is a liturgical book which contains prayers, hymns, psalms and readings for everyday use by both the clergy and the laity.  This one was printed in Venice in 1478 and was a special luxury copy printed on vellum and beautifully decorated.  It is believed to have been produced as a gift for Leonardo Botta, the Milanese ambassador to Venice, and the detailed images and brilliant colours are as impressive today as when they were created.  The Kalendarium (Calendar) by Erhard Ratdolt was also produced in Venice but the printer was German and he had moved to Venice attracted by the thriving intellectual scene.  He produced technically innovative publications and this calendar includes paper wheels which can still be turned today to show the motion of the moon. The Canon of Medicine was an encyclopaedia of medicine compiled around 1025 by a Persian philosopher known as Avicenna. Originally written in Arabic it was translated into many languages and it’s one of the most famous books in the history of medicine.  This copy too was printed in Venice and its decoration, known as illuminations, are by an artist known as Pico Master and are extremely lavish.  There are also many annotations (or notes) written next to the text throughout the book so it was obviously well used.

The aim of the project was to promote this collection to a wider audience and I’m convinced this has been achieved.  Many of the people I know who have visited the exhibition are not academics but are book lovers keen to look at early versions of their much beloved pursuit of reading. The information provided between each set of books is detailed and informative and I came away with a greater understanding of both the production as well as subject matter of early printed books. I also earned that very early printed books, produced in the fifteenth century, are known as incunables and was able to look at a working model of an early printing press.

As I said earlier, I loved it and I am sure you will too.

Visit before it closes on 21 June.  Admission is free so spend your saved cash on the gorgeous accompanying catalogue.

Let us know your thoughts if you’ve visited.

Bowes Museum

Monday, February 16th, 2015
Bowes Museum

Bowes Museum

I visited this Museum in Barnard Castle in County Durham for the first time this weekend after discovering it through social media.  What a unique and fantastic venue.  The building stands out in the market town of County Durham as it is built in the style of a French Chateau!  Helpful staff show you how to access the building and we started with a background to the Museum and its creators.  Appropriate for Valentine’s weekend, this is a story of the love of a couple and their combined love of the arts and collecting.  The Museum was built by them with the intention of housing their collection for the public to visit.  A very philanthropic project.

 

The art within the building is outstanding and some of my favourites included El Greco’s The Tears of St Peter; a classic blustery Boudin called Beach Scene at Low Tide; the portrait of Olive Boteler Porter which was recently discovered to be a genuine van Dyck panting; and a small atmospheric Goya titled Interior of a Prison.  The breadth of work is impressive, collected during John and Josephine’s time in Paris, and you gain a real understanding of the way in which  French art evolved to become to be a dominant force.  Although many of the art works are hung very high on the walls of the galleries, there are labels with images for each painting which means you don’t miss a thing.  As well as art there are galleries housing silver and metals, archaeological objects, toys, ceramics, furniture and textiles.  I really liked the recreations of the rooms as dining rooms, bedrooms and sitting rooms with the most fantastic items of French furniture.  Their fashion and textile collections are world renowned which his why you will find so many fashion exhibitions are held there.  Having supported their crowd funding project to restore their fifteenth century altarpiece I can now keep up to date with its progress on their blog.

 

As well as the main gallery spaces there are several temporary exhibition spaces.  These currently include the Birds of Paradise: Plumes and Feathers in Fashion exhibition which showcases breath-taking haute couture gowns including an amazing outfit by Thierry Mugler which greets you as you enter.  Another exhibition was Confected, Borrowed and Blue where artist Paul Scott has decorated familiar crockery and dinner ware with contemporary stories which include the Cockle Pickers Tea Service alongside plates with images of Gaza. You will also see work by Julian Opie scattered around the building including a walking woman who doesn’t seem to get very far and his cheeky version of the Manneken Pis as you enter! It is well worth the entry fee as you can spend the whole day here, stopping for lunch or afternoon tea in the café.  With an Yves Saint Laurent exhibition arriving in July this Museum is a must for fashionistas as well as art and museum lovers.  I definitely intend to return soon.

The Last of the Clan 1865 by Thomas Faed (1826-1900)

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Last of the Clan by Thomas Faed Image courtesy of Glasgow Museums

This painting has come to symbolise the Highland Clearances which was a time when many Scots were forced to emigrate, driven from their land by poverty, or evicted by greedy estate owners.  Although by then the worst of the Clearances were over, the story told by the picture still aroused strong feelings and inspired him to create the most enduring image of this tragic period of Scottish history.

 Grief is written on the faces of the young and old and even the horse, as an unseen ship sails away.  As a viewer of this painting, we appear to be on the departing ship. There is beauty however, in the skilfully painted young women, surely out of place with their London fashions, and the random objects scattered on the quayside.

Thomas Faed was one of the most successful painters of his time.  His work was popular with the Victorian public who queued to see his latest paintings of sentimental Scottish themes. When this painting was exhibited, the Royal Academy had to have barriers erected to control the crowd!

He was born in Gatehouse-of-Fleet in South West Scotland and trained in Edinburgh at the School of Desig, becoming an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy at the young age of 23.

He moved to London in 1852 where he became one of the most successful painters of his time. Although he lived in England, his paintings often dealt with Scottish subjects.  His work was popular with the Victorian public who queued to see his latest paintings of sentimental Scottish themes. He was a technical expert in oils and excelled at still-life details, figures and landscapes.  By 1893 he had become almost blind and retired from painting.  He died in London in St John’s Wood in 1900.

You can see this painting in the Scottish Identity in Art Gallery in the Expression Wing on the first floor of Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.

For personal daytime and gift voucher tours and private evening viewings of Kelvingrove contact us on 0141 636 6929 or email us at info@intermezzo-arts.co.uk