Art & Design Magazine

London. the Impressionists. Leondardo.

By Mariagrazia @SMaryG


Waldemar Januszczak

I was in London last summer when BBC2  broadcast a series of documentaries about the Impressionists. I couldn't watch them then but I took note. I had to find them. Well, I did it and I've finally seen the whole series.In the four episodes,  Art writer Waldemar Januszczak explores the revolutionary achievements of the Impressionists: The Impressionists: Painting and Revolution, The Great Outdoors, The Gang of Four, Painting the People. 
I'd listen  to Mr Januszczak's enthusiasm while describing paintings for hours. Have a look at this video as an example.


Young Claude Monet

I've always been interested in Renoir, Monet, Manet, Degas, they've always been among my favourites 19th century painters. Because of their revolutionary art, because of their extraordinary talent, because of their brave lives against everything and everyone.
But there are also Pissarro, Cezanne, Gaugin, Van Gogh and other great names to enrich the list of this revolutionary group of painters in 19th century Art. Theirs was the most exciting mutiny in art.
London and the impressionists. Pissarro and Monet lived in England, in London where they fled  to escape from the war in France (the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 in which their friend Bazille volunteered and died). At that time, when Monet painted the Thames and Westminster Palace and Pissarro the suburbs of South London, they were not as famous as they are nowadays. They had actually to struggle to survive, poor as they were. However , their stay in London was fruitful for their art. For instance, there they must have seen William Turner's landscape paintings which highly influenced Monet - though he went on denying Turner's influence on his art all his life through.


The Thames at Westminster (Westminster Bridge)
1871; Oil on canvas; Collection Lord Astor of Hever; National Gallery, London

Their revolutionary art was all in their study of light and in their brave brushstrokes. The closer you get to one of their pictures the easier it is to feel their revolutionary spirit.
If you think you already know everything about the Impressionists, well see this four - part series and you will discover you were wring  in the end.
Leonardo in London

Apart from watching documentaries about art, I've been reading some articles about this new , unique exhibition at the National Gallery in London: Leonardo da Vinci, Painter at the Court of Milan.
As they announce on the site of the Gallery, "it is the most complete display of Leonardo’s rare surviving paintings ever held. This unprecedented exhibition – the first of its kind anywhere in the world – brings together sensational international loans never before seen in the UK.
I'm not planning a trip to London. Not for a while yet.  But this is unmissable if you are going there by 5 February . 
Among the most precious works , the two versions of Leonardo’s ‘Virgin of the Rocks’ – belonging to the National Gallery and the Louvre – They will be shown together for the first time. Find out more about the two paintings

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