The latest in the oldest

Exhibitions at London’s National Gallery

London’s National Gallery has long been a favourite. It is free to visit its general galleries and to be able to pop in and just admire one picture or maybe one gallery is such a treat. But, the gallery also hosts many great exhibitions and there are two stunners running at the moment.

Courtauld Impressionists

The National Gallery is noted for its collection of Impressionist paintings and until 20 January 2019 it is home to a selection of paintings from the Courtauld Gallery, currently closed for renovation.

It is a comparatively small exhibition but nevertheless a sheer joy with the likes of Manet, Seurat, Van Gogh, Degas, Gauguin and Cezanne all vying to be admired.

Almost dominating one room is Seurat’s massive picture of the Bathers at Asnières and who could fail but be captivated by Van Gogh’s swirling brush strokes depicting A Wheatfield with Cypresses or Daumier’s almost haunting, unfinished, painting of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza?

Mantegna & Bellini

In the lower floor galleries until 27 January 2019 is an exhibition of works by two greats of the Italian Renaissance – Mantegna and Bellini.

Accompanying the exhibition which traces the painting careers and indeed rivalry of the brothers-in-law and the influence each one had on the other, is a short, but very worthwhile film.

To see so many of the paintings that previously most of us only see in books or course notes is an incredible experience.

And even more interesting too to compare, sometimes side by side, paintings by the two men showing their different interpretations of events such as St Jerome and the Lion, and the Presentations at the Temple.

It is a stunning and fascinating exhibition; so good that another visit is being planned.

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