Sunday, November 7, 2010

My picks - National Gallery (London)

Some weeks ago I visited the National Gallery in London for the second time. I had some time to spare, and I walked around taking notes, writing down the titles and artists of the pantings that really caught my eye and made me stand gaping at them. This is exactly what I want to share with you. I know Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" or Velazquez's "The Rokeby Venus" are among the most famous, I like them and everyone should go see them. But these are my picks, less known works with a special appeal, a certain  charm.

In the first place, Botticelli's beautiful "Venus and Mars" (15th century). Mythological themes are favourites of mine! I love the little satyrs who play with Mars's armor and weapons as he sleeps, visibly "defeated" by Venus's charm and love.

Next, "The Agony in the Garden" by Garofalo (16th century). It's no secret I like Renaissance art very much; religious themes can get boring at times but this paiting caught my attention. Jesus is praying alone while his disciples sleep, and the soldiers are already coming from the shadows to fetch him:

This is one from 4 wonderful paintings by Paolo Veronese (16th century), brought together under the title "Allegory of Love". The title of this one is "Scorn". Notice how the little Cupid is about to strike the lying man, probably in punishment for some love-related misdeed!:

The model for the next painting is thought to be one of Rembrandt's lovers; the title is "A Woman bathing in a stream" (17th century). Her simple gracefulness and beauty in such an everyday scene are remarkable, I think:

An anonymous follower of Rembrandt painted "A man seated reading at a table in a lofty room". I found that I couldn't look away from it; the use of shadows and light is extraordinary, haunting: 

The last painting I want to show you is by the Spanish artist Murillo. I love his work in general, but there is something really charming in the face of this simple street boy: "A Peasant Boy leaning on a Sill" (also 17th century). 

I may post similar lists with paintings from other museums! Please feel free to tell me what you think. 

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