Gallery blog


It’s Almost Time! Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album

25 February 2015 by Emily

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After a busy week of installation, our major exhibition Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album is almost ready to open.

 

Our exhibition space has been transformed, offering visitors a glimpse into the private world of Goya’s boundless imagination, expressed through visions and nightmares superstitions and problems of old age.

 

Our conservation and curatorial teams have been working with museums and galleries across the globe and as a result we have reunited the wildly scattered pages of Goya’s Witches and Old Women Album. This is the first time this album has been reconstructed in its original sequence and we can’t wait to show you the results.

Find out more about the exhibition here  and avoid the queues by booking your ticket online

#Goya

The exhibition coming together

 

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Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album opens 25 March 2015

The Courtauld Gallery , Somerset House

 

Categories: Collection, Exhibitions, Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Crazy in Love

13 February 2015 by Emily

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According to the shop displays and florists since New Year’s Day, the celebration of love and chocolate is around the corner. To celebrate Valentine’s Day here at the Gallery, we took a look at our collection’s best depictions of love.

 

The Nerli Chest, Biagio d’Antonio, 1472

Chest and spalliera with the arms of Vaggia Nerli and Lorenzo Morelli (The Nerli Chest)

One of a pair of chests made to celebrate the marriage of Vaggia Nerli and Lorenzo Morelli, the Nerli chest was intended for the bride.

Though made in celebration of matrimony, the chest itself seems more a celebration of maternal love than marital affection. It shows the story of the punishment of schoolmaster in ancient Falerii who wanted to offer his pupils to the Romans, betraying them. The Roman officer Camillus saved the children from this fate and gave them rods with which to beat the schoolmaster, a reminder for Vaggia Nerli to protect her children.

Perhaps the moral is that to love your children is to teach them how to protect themselves… with a big stick.

 

Peter Paul Rubens, Family of Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1613-15

Peter Paul Rubens, Family of Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1613-15

This one is so sweet it hurts, rendering me unable to make a joke. Rubens and Jan Brueghel were close friends and Rubens created a tender portrait of his friend and his family. 

Catharina Brueghel sweetly draws her two children closer, gently touching her son Pieter’s shoulder as he plays with her bracelet. She clasps hands with her young daughter Elisabeth as the little girl stares adoringly up at her mother.

 

Thomas Gainsborough, Portrait of Mrs. Gainsborough, Circa 1778

Thomas Gainsborough, Portrait of Mrs. Gainsborough, Circa 1778

Family legend holds that Mr. Gainsborough painted a portrait of his Mrs. every year on their wedding anniversary.

Sadly we only know of 5 portraits of Mrs. Gainsborough by her husband, but this portrait is a beautiful testament to their (sometimes fraught) relationship. When painting family, someone the artist knows well, the experience is vastly different from a commissioned portrait or working with a professional model.

This painting is more informal, the technique looser than in other Gainsborough portraits.

 

Georges Seurat, Young Woman Powdering Herself, ca 1888-90

To finish, a secret love. The woman in the was Seurat’s mistress Madeleine Knobloch. It was only after Seurat’s death that his family learned of her relationship with Seurat and the two children she bore him.

As can be seen in this infra-red photograph, which shows the paint layers underneath the surface, Seurat originally represented himself in the small mirror, painting Madeleine as she applied her makeup.

A friend, unaware of the romantic relationship between painter and model, made fun of Seurat’s inclusion of himself and Seurat angrily painted himself out, replacing his face with flowers in a vase on the corner of a table.

In 1890, Madeleine lost both Seurat and their eldest son to an infectious disease, probably diphtheria.

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Auld Lang Syne: Days of Long Ago

23 January 2015 by Emily

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Burns Night is just around the corner and in celebration we have delved into our Prints and Drawings collection to bring you a selection of Scottish inspired works on paper.

Scotland has long been on the artist’s wish list of places to make work, and it is easy to see why. The following works deliver a strong sense of the almighty scale of the Scottish landscape, and the challenges it would have no doubt presented the artists with during their visits in the late 1700s, early 1800s.

From wide rivers and endless forests to vast Mountains and stormy skies, the environment demands of the artist an equally natural, confident and uncompromising approach to capture its often breath-taking beauty.

 

View of a coast with a large mountain (Scotland) George Howland Beaumont (1753-1827) Graphite, watercolour (grey) on paper Height: 11.5 cm; Width: 17.2 cm;  Acquisition Witt, Robert Clermont (Sir); bequest; 1952 D.1952.RW.3423.1

View of a coast with a large mountain (Scotland)
George Howland Beaumont (1753-1827)
Graphite, watercolour (grey) on paper

 

Near Kelso 1800-01 Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) Height: 26 cm; Width: 43.8 cm; Inscription Signed, lower left, recto, Girtin // Acquisition Scharf, Dorothy (Miss); bequest; 2007 (March) D.2007.DS.18
Near Kelso
1800-01
Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)

West view of Dumbarton Castle 10.1788 Joseph Farington (1747-1821) Graphite, pen and ink, watercolour on paper Height: 22.9 cm; Width: 44.4 cm;  Inscription Signed, graphite, lower right, Jos: Farington. Titled, dated, graphite, lower left, west view of Dumbarton/ Castle. October. 1788 Notes, graphite, at various points of the drawing, grey/ white/ 81/ GA Acquisition Spooner, William (Mr and Mrs); bequest; 1967 D.1967.WS.42  Thomas Girtin’s Near Kelso. 1800 -1801

West view of Dumbarton Castle
Joseph Farington (1747-1821)
Graphite, pen and ink, watercolour on paper

 

And if you would like to find out more about these and other works in our Prints and Drawings Collection you can visit the Prints and Drawings Study Room between 1.30pm and 4pm on Wednesdays when the Study Room is open on a drop-in basis

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The Final Count Down

9 January 2015 by Emily

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Raising the Roof: The new Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery

24 November 2014 by admin

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If you have visited The Courtauld Gallery recently you may have encountered a builder in a hard hat and wondered what the occasional hammering sound coming from the mezzanine floor was.

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Cladding of the room and first fit of main ducts for environmental control feeds in the small ceiling void

Since August this year, our new Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery has been taking shape. A talented team of architects and structural engineers have been assisting us with the challenging task of transforming a former storage facility into an impressive dedicated drawings gallery for the public.

Withereford Whatson Mann are the architects behind this project and have been working with us to create a welcoming space, that will not only display our exceptional collection of drawings but give our visitors an enriched gallery experience with greater access to our collection.

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The new gallery space, with struts to support the ceiling prior to structural works, and walls stripped back to original brickwork

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 Ceiling prior to raising

Major changes are already taking place with some significant structural work, included raising the ceilings, already completed. Over the next few months the room will start to come together as the contractors lay the floors, finalise the environmental controls and add the finishing touches.

The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery will open to the public on 15 January 2014 with its first display Unseen,  drawing attention to the range and depth of our collection by focusing on works which have not been exhibited to the public in the last 20 years.

A selection of 20 works will make up this display dating from Two men in conversation, a 15th century Renaissance drawing from the school of Francesco Squarcione (c. 1395 – after 1468), the teacher of Andrea Mantegna, to Africa, a work from 1962 by Larry Rivers (1923-2002), considered to be the godfather of Pop Art.

Each year the new Gallery will host a dynamic programme of displays and will also function as a platform for research and experimentation, encouraging the development of new approaches in the study of drawings.

This project has been made possible by a generous gift from American philanthropist Gilbert Butler and his wife Ildiko alongside substantial donations from a range of significant stakeholders. We are confident that this fantastic new addition to the Gallery will be a welcome enhancement for all our visitors.

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