Showing posts with label Art Galleries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art Galleries. Show all posts

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Canaletto- Invented by An English Man

One day,I had some free time and went to the National Gallery,to get a deeper and broader understanding of artwork and discovered a fine painter,Giovanni Antonio Canal or better known as Canaletto.By this time, I had been to The National Gallery at least five times, but I felt a bit empty, because I never really got to learn in depth about any of the artists and my knowledge felt very superficial.

That day,as I left my house,I made a determination to go to The National Gallery and hear the Artist Lecture that takes place everyday at 1pm.That particular day, they were lecturing on Caneletto Canaletto an 18th Italian Rococo Era Painter, 1697-1768.What I discovered is that although at first glance, Canaletto is not really my style of painter, usually I like painters that use vibrant colors and have a whimsical flare.Amongst the Impressionist painters, I enjoy Renoir and a bit of Monet and Pissaro.I also adore Chagall and love Toulouse Lautrec just as much that he was an eccentric artist as for his art.I deplore Picasso and think he's over rated.He was also a first class wanker and woman abuser, but that's neither here nor there. But, to me, the Impressionist have always been a bit over rated.I enjoy looking at artwork from different centuries, besides the Nineteenth or Twentieth. I am not big on Modern Art. OK, well, I guess I have my opinions about Art.) I enjoy the artist from the eighteenth century and especially from the Baroque Rococo period, like Fragonard or Boucher( See: French in London blog).Upon seeing Canaletto, for the first time,I didn't fancy him initially at first glance. However, upon studying him in depth, I found his style of painting and legacy to be quite intriguing. And, thanks to the lecture which helped me get a deeper look at the artist and man, instead of being a shallow purveyor of art, I got to learn a few things and here would like to share them with you.

In the 18th Century,the love affair between Venice and the English really got going with the popularization of The Grand Tour. The Grand Tour, would consist of a classical education, which primary value lay in the exposure both to the cultural artefacts of antiquity and the Renaissance and to the aristocratic and fashionable society of the European continent. A Grand Tour could last from several months to several years. French and German gentry were also inclined to go on the Grand Tour, as it was called, south to Italy. But the British were especially enthusiastic, and Venice was a mandatory destination. Venice, being a city of pleasure, of carnivals, masked balls, and music. That was perhaps one reason why it became fashionable to buy a view or set of views to recall this delightful place. paintings portraying the grandeur of Venice became popular at the dawn of modern tourism. British visitors on The Grand Tour created a demand for view paintings of celebrated sights and Venetian festivals to take home with them as souvenirs. Many gentlemen – so-called milordi – sought the works of Canaletto.

An agent -an Italianised Englishman named Joseph Smith, who was ready to negotiate a price with the artist, pack up the pictures and dispatch them to Britain.He sold much of his collection to George III( the Mad King George who was said to have gone mad because he had porphyry,King from June 1738 - January 1820), creating the bulk of the large collection of Canaletto's owned now by the Royal Collection.Smith also bought Canaletto's work himself, so prolifically that when he finally sold his collection to George III, it contained 53 paintings and 140 drawings by that artist - the greatest array of Canaletto's work in the world.

Canelleto was such a skilled painter and painted the minutia of daily life in Venice in such great detail that art historians agree he used what is called a (the Mad King George who was said to have gone mad because he had porphyry,4 June 1738- 29 January 1820) camera obscura.A Camera obscura is a box fitted with a lens at one end and a mirror on the other that reflects an image onto a canvas.

His finest work is perhaps The Stonemason's Yard (1729)and the topic of the lecture that lovely afternoon at The National Gallery.

His views went beyond topographical accuracy to capture the poetic play of light, water and architecture, unique to the experience of Venice. Prompted by declining tourism, in 1746 Canaletto moved to England, where he painted views of London, Oxford and other cities as well as the country seats of his patrons.

Eton College (1754)

Venice: The Basin of San Marco on Ascension Day from Two Venetian Ceremonial Scenes

A Regatta on the Grand Canal from Two Venetian Ceremonial Scenes

Canaletto's views always fetched high prices, and even as early as the 18th century Catherine the Great and other European monarchs vied for his grandest paintings. The record price paid at auction for a Canaletto is £18.6 million for View of the Grand Canal from Palazzo Balbi to the Rialto, set at Sotheby's in London in July 2005.

The Los Angeles County Museum houses Canaletto. Believe it or not.

Piazza San Marco, Looking South and West (1763)

Some Other Interesting Articles on Canaletto:
-A Gallery of Canaletto Work
- See More Canaletto at The Royal Collection
-How Canaletto was Invented by an Englishman
-Canaletto and The Grand Tour

More Tales and Adventures in Sabrina's London Diaries

Saturday, 21 November 2009

My Top Eleven Things to Do in London for Free

1. Art Galleries
London has some of the best art on the planet.The Tate Modern focuses on contemporary art while Tate Britaindisplays British Art from the sixteenth century to the present day.Other major London art galleries include the The National Portrait Gallery,The National Gallery,both in Trafalgar Square.I would also recommend, The Wallace Collection,which is a great respite after a hectic day of shopping on Oxford Street. And remember,many musuems and galleries are open late on Friday night.

2.London Museums
Visit and enjoy many of the London museums which happened to be free.
These Museums not only are free,they offer a great way to see world class art, sculptures.In Kensington you can hit three museums in one afternoon on musuem row:
The Victoria and Albert Museum,
The Natural History Museum,
and The Science Museum .

At The British Museumin Russel Square one
can see Egyptian mummies,ancient Roman,Greek and Oriental artifacts, Elgin marbles(involved in an ongoing cultural tug-of-war between the British and Greek Governments),and the Rosetta Stone(the key to translating hieroglyphics).Much of it was stolen from other countries.Not only is it the oldest museum in the world but, since its inception in 1753, the institution has managed to build an unrivalled collection of exhibits from the ancient world, many of them gifts from wealthy collectors.

3.London Churches
You can see insideWestminster Abbey
for free.The Abbey never charges people who want to worship but they rely on admission fees from visitors to cover running costs. Evensong is the most beautiful of services where the Abbey choir sings. The Choristers of the Choir are educated at Westminster Abbey Choir School and are all extremely talented. Evensong is at 5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, plus at 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

American Girl Will Show You London Tour
Chuck Lankford on The American Tour of Westminster Abbey

You can also enter St.Pauls Cathedral
to see the Choral Evensong. Like Westminster Abbey, it ususally starts at 5:00pm Monday thru Friday, and it's free! Also, The Brompton Oratory has free concerts.The choir has appeared in award-winning recordings on DG Archiv and frequently sings for productions of the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Enjoy beautiful polyphonic music and Gregorian chants while sitting in resplendent baroque Italian architecture.

4. Royal Parks
There are often free talks and guided walks in the royal parks so do check the What's On section of the Royal Parks website.Royal Historic Parks. There are 8 park. St. James Park. Regent's Park. Hyde Park. Kensingston Gardens. Bushy Park. Greenwich Park. Green Park. They often have wonderful walks and events that are free.

5.Changing of the Guard
No visit to London is complete without seeing this military tradition. The Queen's Guard in London changes in the Forecourt inside the gates of Buckingham Palace at 11.30am every day in the summer and every other day in the winter. Get there early and view the spectacle from outside the front gates.

6. South Bank
It really is amazing how many London landmarks you can see along this stretch of the River Thames including The ship theHMS Belfast,
Tate Modern, Shakespeare Globe Theater, and so much more.

7. Street Performers
The West Piazza of Covent Garden Market has street performers to entertain you every day.Covent Garden has live singers from The Royal Opera House and classical musicians. (All performers have a license and have gone on an audtion).Grab a hot cocoa or glass of wine, sit on the piazza and voila there you have entertainment for an afternoon and evening.You will find more street performers at the weekend along the South Bank, particularly outside the National Theater.

8.London Markets
London is well-known for its popular street markets. The most popular are Camden Market and Portobello Market, following closely by Greenwich Market. Find out about these markets and more:

London Street Market's
Camden Market
Portobello Market
Greenwich Market
Old Spitalfields Market
Brick Lane Market(Sundays only)
Petticoat Lane Market
Picadilly Market
Columbia Flower Market (Sunday mornings only)
Borough Market

9. Libraries
Many of the London Libaries are free. When you got the site seeing blues, check out your local London library and just relax among the books. Get a library card and then you can check your internet for free. But, the best library of them all, and probably the best library on the planet is The British Library.They care the biggest collection of the world of Jewish, Christian and Muslim books. Check out Shakespeare's original folios.See The Magna Carta. Find out how different people were effected by the Magna Carta.

10.Free Entertainment

St. Martin in the Fields Church offers free Concerts on Monday, Tuesdays and Fridays at 1 pm. It's very relaxing, just to sit back and relax and her a Brandenburgh Concert or Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Also, there are inexpensive concerts in the evening where you can hear French cafe music or live jazz. Usually it's quite inexpensive and tickets are usually £10.

You may also attend a Lunchtime Recitals at the The Royal Opera Houseat 1 pm. The tickets need to be confirmed 9 days before the show.And, can be bought online at It's a great way to spend an afternoon and take a break from your work day, or if you want to relax and hear some beautiful music.


You can't go inside the Tower Bridge for free, but you can look at it for free.
London Bridge was originally the only crossing for the Thames. As London grew, so more bridges were added, although these were all built to the west of London Bridge, since the area east of London Bridge had become a busy port.

American Girl(that's me),Will Show You London Tour

Lee Howard on The American Tour of Tower Bridge

Schedules for Events in London:

St. Martin in the Fields Concert Schedule

Changing of the Guard
Westminster Abbey Music and Choir Schedule
St.Paul's Choral SongSchedule
The Brompton Oratory Choir Schedule
London Market Schedule
For More Free Things to do in London

One of the few things I do in life is give TOURS OF LONDON,
American Girl Will Show You London

-How to be A Romantic Romeo on a Date
- Green London
- Ghosts of London Walking Tour
-What to do if your in London for awhile and have seen all the major sites


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