Barcham and I went down to the media preview of the National Gallery’s upcoming blockbuster show Turner from The Tate, The Making of a Master this morning.
It didn’t really justify both of us going, we just both wanted to see it. We were not alone as it was one of the most well attended media events I’ve been to.
Proceedings of course started with Gallery boss Ron Radford getting his chance to talk to the assembled reptiles.
Ron was keen to point out that while the Gallery had done a Turner exhibition 20 years ago (and gallery regulars tend to be old enough to remember that long) only two works were repeated between the decades.
Turner is an interesting painter in that he bridges the gap between the bowl of fruit school of realism and something akin to impressionism (although he significantly predated the Impressionist school).
What this means is he offers a lot to both the established art lover and to the curious but uninitiated.
You can tell what he was trying to paint without much trouble (harbours, coasts, ships, fields, rivers, churches, the sky) but how he went about it, and particularly the use of light in his paintings, is downright fascinating no matter how much art you’ve consumed.
It’s worth taking the larger works in from different angles and distances too, some work better a little further away.
The exhibition only has a shortish run until 8 September (it opens Saturday) so if you’ve got a spare afternoon before then you really don’t want to miss it.
Here’s Barcham’s take on things:
The selection of works is wonderfully diverse. Large majestic landscapes best viewed from a distance, small studies of light and colour to be scrutinized up close, and (perhaps most interesting) half finishes studies and sketches to be admired.
The pieces were well supported with information about the ‘when, where, and why’ of each pieces creation.
Totally worth a trip.
Family Activity Room
The Family Activity Room was pretty cool. There were giant screens depicting Turner’s maritime landscapes that you could view from a small boat. It was rather cute.
Even better were the dozen or so easels spread around at ‘kid’ height. Each easel either had a some paper with water colours available for kids to try and paint their own masterpiece, or an iPad for kids to interact with.
First thing I noticed was they sold Hendricks gin. Second thing I noticed was they sold clothes for your dog.
It was an odd kind of gift shop.
The preview ended as it started, with Ron on camera.