Friday, January 21, 2011

Canaletto & His Rivals at the National Gallery

Venice: Canaletto & his Rivals - National Gallery, London
pen and ink and coloured pencils in moleskine sketchbook, 8" x 10"
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
These are a couple of sketches from Venice: Canaletto & His Rivals - the recent exhibition at the National Gallery in London

This is now in the process of transferring to the National Gallery of Art in Washington (see Venice: Canaletto & His Rivals February 20–May 30, 2011).  If you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it as an excellent exhibition of its kind.
The exhibition celebrates the rich variety of these Venetian views, known as vedute, through some 20 masterworks by Canaletto and more than 30 by his rivals, including Michele Marieschi, Francesco Guardi, and Bernardo Bellotto. Responding to an art market fueled largely by the Grand Tour, these gifted painters depicted the famous monuments and vistas of Venice in different moods and seasons.
It has a lot of amazing paintings. What I particularly valued was seeing the same view painted by different artists, some of whom were influenced by the earlier paintings.

One of the interesting aspects about the painting is the difference between
  • artists who painted the figures - and Venice was the backdrop
  • artists who painted Venice - and the people are part of the scene in the same way as every other part of the scene
Canaletto is one of the latter.

Venice: Canaletto & his Rivals (Room 1) - National Gallery, London
pen and ink and coloured pencils in moleskine sketchbook, 8" x 10"
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
I find I sketch the interiors of galleries much more in winter when the scope to sit outside is limited by the wind, rain, cold and snow.  I have my fingers crossed that we're not having any more snow.

These sketches are determined by: where the seats are, locations where I can get a good view of one room looking into another; drawing figures one at a time - as they come and go.  I find it's important to get the height of the first one right and to note the general proportions of people in front and behind are relative to that figure.  Guards are good for this as they tend not to move much for long periods.

While doing the sketch of Room 1 I found out what happens if somebody attempts to take a photo of one of the paintings with a cameraphone.  The gentleman in question was politely but firmly escorted out of the exhibition by one of the guards......and I didn't see him return.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

View from Portrait Restaurant, National Portrait Gallery

I was at the National Portrait Gallery this morning for a Press Breakfast about an exhibition next year to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - and stayed on afterwards to sketch the view.  Despite the fact it was a miserable grey rainy day in January and I had to look very hard to find the colour!

The view from the Portrait Restaurant, 3rd floor, National Portrait Gallery
11" x 17", pen and ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

At least it isn't raining as hard in London as it has been in Queensland and Brazil.

This is a not very good photo.  I'll do a scan and stitch when I've got a bit more time.