|Portrait of Hendrick III, Count of Nassau-Breda|
One of the things I really wanted to do while in London over Spring Break was to go to the Jan Gossaert exhibit at the National Gallery. I read on the web site that Gossaert was a Renaissance painter from the Netherlands who was active in the early 1500's. Since I've always like the Northern European painters, I made a point of making room in my week for this exhibit.
|Jan Gossaert's "Adam and Eve"|
Those apple boughs are very strategically placed!
I got to the museum just after opening and began slowly strolling through the first room of the exhibit, which was devoted to
Gossaert's drawings and paintings of Adam and Eve. His Eves were the only chubby Eves I've ever seen. I always forget that until the 1920's plump women were considered much more desirable then skinny minnies. Anybody could be skinny in those days. It was much harder to obtain a little padding on the hips and thighs. Oh for the good ol' days. Look at that Adam. He looks a little like Art Garfunkel!
Next, I walked into a room of portraiture. Suddenly a very familiar painting popped up before me, a painting from our Kimbell Museum. It was a portrait Hendrick III, the count of Nassau-Breda a Dutch dignitary. In the portrait he wore a deep blue velvet hat, a fur shawl, and a richly textured herringbone, gold and black tunic. The materials were so well painted that it seems that if the guards weren't watching, we could reach out and touch not paint, but fur and velvet. The picture was highlighted in the room and given pride of place! I was busting my buttons to see one of "our" paintings here in London.
Later, in the museum, I ran across a George Bellows exhibit called "the American Experience." It was interesting to hear American art explained from a European perspective. Here's a bit of the introduction. "This exhibit is a new National Gallery initiative ...
which aims to introduce visitors to aspects of American painting little known in this country.
Huh? Little known? Why?
Don't the British show American art very often? Why not?
As the British say, I was gobsmacked!
|"Lord Grovsnor Italian Stallion With a Groom"|
The next noticeable difference was the energy. Color and movement vibrated off the canvas in the American paintings. Now, I was looking at works by George Bellows after all, and he was known for the energy of his paintings, but I don't think these could be mistaken for European works. Water shimmered with waves of emotion; it didn't lay there placid and passive.
|"Wave" by George Bellows |
I don't think I would go out in a boat in these waters!
After a delicious but expensive lunch at the museum, I took a stroll down to Buckingham Palace. The afternoon was beautiful. There was a light fog but the sun was out and shining through. The temperature must have warmed into the 60's because my jacket felt too warm and I had to take it off and carry it. I got some good pictures of St. James Park and Buck House. Enjoy them!
The front gates to the palace. Very impressive!