Hard to believe it was over a month ago I was in the National Gallery looking at these paintings.
Sometimes I look at these famous pictures for real - and I’ve seen them so many times - that I don’t think I really SEE them.
So on this visit I looked for the details.
Caneletto - Venice a regatta on the Grand Canal 1740.
Who are these people gossiping? What are the talking about? Are they waiting for a boat?
Another picture from Caneletto (Venice 1728)
As well as the grand buildings there are men and women going about daily business. Children too - Look at the mother leaving her broom and rushing to help her toddler.
Constable 1820 - Straford Mill.
I’ve never seen the horse having a drink before.
How about the children fishing? You can imagine the conversation of these two, looking down to see if they’ve caught a fish for dinner.
Who could fail to love Hogarth and his humour? (Hogarth, 1743, Marriage a la mode scene 4).
Religious paintings don’t generally capture my imagination but who could resist these pinks, reds and oranges? Still vibrant after five hundred years.
(Workshop of Durer 1500-1510)
Rubens is a master of drawing the eye from the very front of the hedgerow - with all the flower detail - along and into the very back of the painting
(Ruben Autumn Landscape 1636)
Turner - Dido building Carthage 1815
Before Turner discovered the use of the colour yellow he painted scenes such as this.
Are these people looking at maps? What are the children talking about or are they playing a game?
Another Turner - Fishermen cleaning and selling fish - before 1807, detail of the woman working, the men drinking (and making deals?) and the fish arriving.
And two more pictures I must show you. Another Turner - Odysseus 1829.
I was standing looking at this when a guy commented on how wonderful a painting it was.
I had to smile (a stranger talking to me in London!) and said you could almost feel the warmth radiating from the canvas. He agreed.
Lovely to share the moment with a total stranger.
This painting always makes me stop and look. Delaroche - The execution of Lady Jane Grey 1833.
Very much a metaphor for a woman being manipulated by a man into the position he wants her to hold.