Whilst in London to visit family I took a day to visit the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. I am hoping to go back to visit more London galleries in the next couple of months for more focussed research material, but for the meantime it was great to see the incredible paintings that inspired me since I first visited in my youth.
National Portrait Gallery
I found myself really enjoying the photography in this gallery, which still feels quite new to me as I have only recently gained an interest in photographers.
I also really enjoyed the BP Portrait Awards 2017 show; there was a great variety of different subject matters, materials and styles included. Below are my favourites, one of which was the winner of this year’s grand prize – very deservedly, I thought.
Though I went into the National Gallery with full intentions to write lots of notes and define intelligent criticisms for my dissertation research, I simply had a bit of a ‘nerd out’ at all the grand old paintings. I did take more time to properly read the painting descriptions, as well as spending more time to look at each painting to spot subtle details I may have gazed past before; for example, the strange masks in the corner of ‘An Allegory with Venus and Cupid’ by Bronzino. I was also more aware of the compositions of the images – the female models, in particular – since re-reading John Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’ has made me more thoughtful about the positions of bodies and the messages given off by the artists’ choices.
Though I’ve only touched the very tip of the iceberg of art history, I am excited to continue growing my knowledge in the art periods I admire so much. I’m keen for my next trip where I intend to delve more into the world of both historical and modern art, and I’ll try to catch some fascinating events that are coming up this year.