Private View held by Richard Andrews
Peter Paul Rubens: A Touch Of Brilliance is devoted to Rubens oil sketches, long regarded as one of the most remarkable aspects of his work. They illustrate the wide range of his preparation, and reveal the development of his pictorial ideas. By bringing together preparatory material from a small number of commissions, the exhibition provides a concentrated account the innovative and original use of the oil sketch in Rubens working process in creating paintings. These projects include the ceiling of the Banqueting House in Whitehall, the altarpiece of Antwerp cathedral - The Descent From The Cross, and the now lost ceiling of the Jesuit church in Antwerp. Loosely painted grisailles, exploratory bozzetti, more finished modelli and drawings provide an insight into the genesis of several of the artist's most important compositions. Although Rubens delegated the execution of many of his commissions to assistants, the sketches were all his, and each is a work of art in its own right. Comprising some forty seven oil sketches supplemented by ten related drawings and a small number of finished paintings, the exhibition draws on the collections of the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, together with material from the National Gallery, Dulwich College Picture Gallery and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Hermitage Rooms, Somerset House until 8th February.
Hughie O'Donoghue: Painting Caserta Red comprises a series of paintings that trace and highlight the wartime experiences of O'Donoghue's father, from conscription, through war in Europe, to his return to Manchester. Inspired by letters, photographs and postcards sent home by his father to his mother between 1943 and 1946, O'Donoghue's work brings to the forefront the story of an individual's experience in exceptional times. Unusually for a contemporary artist, O'Donoghue works on a large scale in oils on linen canvas in the grand tradition of painting, building up thin layers of paint and varnish. His epic scale reflects the sweep of history with which he is dealing, but the works do not record the dramatic military engagements of traditional history painting, rather they are the story of the everyday events in the life of an anonymous army, which normally go untold. The collection includes a spectacular new work created especially for this, the first art exhibition to be held in the landmark space created by idiosyncratic architect Daniel Libeskind in his award winning building that opened last year. Imperial War Museum North, Manchester until 18th January.
How To Live In A Flat: Modern Living In The 1930s looks at the new phenomenon of the 1920s and 30s - purpose built flats for the middle classes. They were the height of modernity, small yet convenient, with the most up to the minute facilities and appliances, and were promoted as offering luxury, style and sophistication. This exhibition looks at the planning, the equipment, the furnishing and the lifestyle associated with this alternative to the family home. Using the latest materials and technology of the time, flats were fitted out and furnished in a streamlined modern style that contrasted sharply with the traditional 'Tudorbethan' semis that sprang up everywhere between the Wars. Apartments were a chic urban alternative, which were responsible for launching the craze for 'built in everything'. William Heath Robinson satirised the ingenious use of space and the development of multifunctional furniture in his book How To Live In A Flat which gives this exhibition its title. This was the moment that interior design entered the domestic environment for the first time. Flats may have given their occupants much less space than they were used to, for instance separate rooms for eating and living were merged into one, but they also offered unheard of luxuries, such as refrigerators, central heating and constant hot water, which changed the way the residents lived their lives. The Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, Middlesex University, Barnet, Herts until 28th March.
Pre-Raphaelite And Other Masters: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection is the first public exhibition of over 300 works by Pre-Raphaelite and other masters from one of the largest collections in private hands. Spread over 11 galleries, it features paintings by Millais, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Waterhouse, Stanley Spencer, Tissot and Alma-Tadema, complemented by examples of furniture by Pugin and Burges, ceramics by William de Morgan, tapestries by Burne-Jones, and items executed by the workshop of William Morris. Lloyd Webber's life long passion has accrued a distinguished collection that now numbers over 15 works by Rossetti, including A Vision of Fiammetta and the coloured chalk study for the Blessed Damozel; early and late works by Millais, such as the finished watercolour version of Ophelia and the landscape Chill October; and a variant of Holman Hunt's Shadow of Death. The exhibition also features over 30 paintings, drawings and tapestries by Burne-Jones, including The Fall of Lucifer and the tapestry The Quest of the Holy Grail; one of Richard Dadd's most important fairy paintings, Contradiction: Oberon and Titania; and a group of paintings by Waterhouse including St Cecilia and Pandora. Other highlights are books printed by William Morris' Kelmscott Press, including the Kelmscott Chaucer and News from Nowhere; and Frilli's life size sculpture Nude Reclining In A Hammock; plus works that illustrate scenes from contemporary life, such as Tissot's The Captain and the Mate, and Atkinson Grimshaw's Dulce Domum. Current critics may sneer at the typical Pre-Raphaelite female subject as the Victorian equivalent of 'heroin chic', but the public undoubtedly shares Lloyd Webber's passion. Royal Academy Of Arts until 12th December.
Between Us: Mariele Neudecker is a mini retrospective of the German born artist who uses landscape as a source of inspiration. It features video, photographic works and a number of her signature 'tank' pieces. The Land Of The Dead is a film shot looking directly down from a hot air balloon as it flies over the desert landscape around Luxor in Egypt, revealing that the seemingly uninhabited terrain is actually teeming with evidence of humanity - everyday life, small scale farming, a moving car, and the sounds of a distant barking dog. Think Of One Thing comprises four tanks housing mountainous peaks cloaked in the dense concoctions created to simulate mist and rain. These miniature landscapes in glass vitrines, filled with water and treated with salt solutions and dyes, create a similar feeling of flight over a romantic fairytale landscape in the viewer. Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, 0151 709 5297 until 18th October.
Circling The Square takes a cue from the part pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square to celebrate over 160 years of its history through the eyes of generations of photographers. The display includes over 70 images that map the changing identity of a space that has been described as 'the blank slab upon which Britain has inscribed its modern history'. They capture the continuing cycle of political demonstrations, celebratory events and visitors (both famous and anonymous) to Trafalgar Square over the years, featuring work by big name photographers including Henri Cartier Bresson, Don McCullin, Norman Parkinson and Oliver Toscani, together with numerous uncredited press agency snappers. Subjects include suffragette riots, the coronation procession of King George VI in 1937, V E Night, a young Elizabeth Taylor being mobbed by pigeons, Michael Foot, Bertrand Russell, the poll tax demonstrations of 1990, and football's World Cup in 2002, plus intriguing and often humorous portraits of the innumerable tourists who have visited the Square, to sit on the famous bronze lions, bathe in the fountains and feed the pigeons. National Portrait Gallery until February.
The Lord Of The Rings Motion Picture Trilogy - The Exhibition provides a behind the scenes look at how the world of Middle Earth was created, and demonstrates the technologies employed to enable the characters to be brought to life. On a straightforward level there are hundreds of costumes, armour, props, jewellery and weapons used in the making of the films, including Gandalf's cloak, Galadriel's dress and twelve complete sets of armour. Given the unusual nature of most of the characters, there is an extensive display about animatronics and make up techniques, with a collection of prosthetics such as Hobbit feet, Orc teeth, Troll ears, Lurtz's facial prosthetic, and the contact lenses used to give the Orcs their unique look. To create the locations, many intricate models, miniature sets and maquettes were constructed, and among those featured are Frodo's vision of the ruined Hobbiton Mill, The Tower of Orthanc, and Sauron's tower, Barad-dur. The films could not have been made without the use of digital effects, and the techniques of motion capture and motion control - the combining of 'real' and 'digital' action - and CGI (computer-generated-image technology) are explained, revealing how Gollum was created. The exhibition also contains immersive experiences, enabling visitors to walk in and be surrounded by a 'ring of fire' as they see The One Ring, and interactive exhibits, with a 'scaling' demonstration, showing the technology used to enable human actors to play creatures both larger and smaller than real life. Visitors can even 'morph' into a hobbit. Science Museum until 11th January.
Grace Robertson: A Sympathetic Eye celebrates the work of one of the pioneering British photojournalists with images of everyday life and everyday people from the 1940s to the present day. Among the pictures in this wide ranging exhibition is her documentation of a London women's pub outing, which she photographed for Picture Post and Life Magazine in the late 1940s, and the world of a poverty stricken Welsh hill farmer and his sheep captured in 1951. Recent work includes photographs of younger women who have grown up with very different expectations from those that most women faced when she began her career. Robertson's work is often described as "sympathetic and heart warming", yet beneath the geniality is a sharp scrutiny of British society. The pictures challenge perceived stereotypes and are never simply nostalgic, always revealing the truth beneath the surface. Robertson's attention to extremes of age is always present in her work, with images of childhood innocence and studies of old age reflecting both the constants and the changes in life during the last half century. The Millais Gallery, Southampton, 023 8031 9916 until 18th October.
Zoomorphic examines how many of today's leading architects are using animal forms as their inspiration to take modern architecture structurally, visually or organically in a new direction. This is being made possible by new building materials, computer design software, more sophisticated structural engineering and the suspension of the old rules of architectural integrity and good taste. Not since Art Nouveau a century ago has there been such an eruption of new building inspired by the natural world. This exhibition pulls together world wide buildings and projects at the forefront of this new movement, and explores the reasons for the animal analogy, displaying architectural models and photographs alongside skeletons and specimens of the species that have influenced them. Among those whose work is featured are Will Alsop, Santiago Calatrava, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Nicholas Grimshaw and Renzo Piano. The projects considered include the Milwaukee Art Museum, with a roof that rises like a bird with outstretched wings; Waterloo International Terminal, whose glazing panels are articulated like the scales of a lizard; and the Swiss Re tower, where not only the appearance, but the structure, and even the ventilation system bear analogy with sea sponges (not to mention gherkins). Victoria & Albert Museum until 4th January.
Clarence House, which is the last great remaining aristocratic London town house, was the residence of the Queen Mother for nearly half a century. Before that, it was the first home of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh (where Princess Anne was born), and it has now been refurbished for the Prince of Wales. This most royal of houses, which stands beside St James's Palace, was built between 1825 and 1827 to the designs of John Nash for Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence, who resided there as King William IV from 1830 until 1837. Now, for the first time, it is open to the public, and visitors are given a guided tour of the five rooms on the ground floor where official engagements are held. The arrangement of the rooms and the grouping of their contents remain largely as they were in the Queen Mother's time, with much of her collection of works of art, furniture and objet d'art in their former positions. The Queen Mother was a shrewd and knowledgeable buyer, bringing together a collection strong in 20th century British art, with important works by Augustus John, L S Lowry, John Piper, John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert, and Graham Sutherland, including several portraits of the Queen Mother and other members of the royal family. There are also superb examples of Faberge, English porcelain and silver, particularly pieces relating to the Bowes-Lyon family. Among the other treasures are an 1804 musical clock that plays 16 tunes, and a 1600 Brussels tapestry. Clarence House until 17th October.
When Flaminio Drove To France - Flaminio Bertoni's Designs For Citroen is the snappy title for an exhibition which examines the collaboration between the Italian automotive designer Flaminio Bertoni and Citroen, the French car company. Beginning in 1934, when Bertoni designed the bodywork of the elegant Traction Avant - reportedly in a single night - it continued in the 1940s with his work on the supremely functional 2CV, in the 1950s with the alluring DS19 - a car so beautiful it was nicknamed the 'deesse' or 'goddess' - and concluded in 1961 with the Ami 6. Many of Bertoni's design and engineering innovations are still used in cars today. This exhibition traces Flaminio Bertoni's career at Citroen through clay models, drawings, memos, photographs, contemporary film footage, vintage marketing material and the some of the original cars. The centrepiece is an actual 2CV prototype, with just one headlamp, rough corrugated bodywork, and hammock style seats slung from the roof. The 2CV was created as a French response to the German Beetle, with the brief of being capable of transporting four people and 50 kilos of potatoes at up to 60kph on unmade roads. It was originally to have been launched in 1939, but at the outbreak of the Second World War, the prototypes were buried and plans hidden. The 2CV joins the Beetle and the Mini as the most influential European cars of the 20th century. Design Museum until 12th October.