Young Bomberg and the Old Masters
While known for creating radical, abstract art Bomberg honed his painting skills as a teenager by copying the work of old masters at the National Gallery in London. This well-illustrated catalogue explores the connections between some of his more ambitious works and those of the painters he admired, demonstrating the extent of his engagement with artists including Rembrandt and Michelangelo.
The Wilton Diptych
The Wilton Diptych shows a young Richard II being presented to the Virgin and Child by John the Baptist and two sainted English kings; Richard, the attendant angels and the outer cover carry Richard’s badge: the white hart with golden antlers and crown. This study draws together recent scholarship to discuss this priceless and enigmatic medieval treasure, exploring the identity of the artist, the refined and subtle techniques of the painting, and its complex web of secular and religious allusion.
Vermeer and Music
The Art of Love and Leisure
Accompanying a National Gallery exhibition in 2013, this study of the significance of music in Dutch painting looks in particular at five paintings by Vermeer, including The Music Lesson (c.1662–3) on loan from the Royal Collection, and another 20 works by his contemporaries. These works by Vermeer and artists such as Jan Steen, Gabriel Metsu and Pieter de Hooch illustrate the important role of music in 17th-century Dutch art and culture.
German Paintings at the National Gallery
In this concise, illustrated study, Caroline Bugler discusses a range of German paintings in the National Gallery collection, including the famous Ambassadors by Holbein and Lucas Cranach’s Cupid Complaining to Venus, as she explores a thread that runs through German painting: ‘a singular – even strange – beauty’ in art that can encompass the darker aspects of the human psyche.
The Art of Transgression
From medieval depictions of Adam and Eve's original sin and expulsion from Paradise to William Holman Hunt's Scapegoat (1854–55) taking on the sins of the world, this extended essay reviews how artists have explored the concept of human iniquity. Examples discussed range from sensual depictions of the temptations of the flesh to allegorical warnings against dissolution, such as Hogarth's Marriage A-la-Mode(1743–45).
Michelangelo and Sebastiano
Michelangelo (1475–1564) and Sebastiano del Piombo (1485–1547) first met in Rome in 1511, shortly after Sebastiano’s arrival from his native Venice and as Michelangelo was finishing the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The two artists became close friends and collaborators until they clashed over the painting of The Last Judgement (1541). Comprising essays and commentary on 55 works, this catalogue explores the artistic partnership of two Renaissance masters and their shared preoccupation with depicting death and resurrection.
El Greco to Goya
Velazquez’ portrait of the ageing Philip IV, the king he had served for over three decades, and Goya’s remarkable portrayal of the Duke of Wellington showing the stress of battle shortly after Salamanca are among the 38 paintings reproduced, with commentaries, in this short history and celebration of the Spanish paintings in the National Gallery’s collections.
Scenes depicting everyday life were a notable and innovative feature of the art of 17th-century Holland. This introduction to the period is illustrated with masterpieces from the National Gallery's collection, demonstrating the characteristic use of perspective in paintings such as Peter de Hooch's Courtyard of a House in Delft and virtuoso technique in pictures including Rembrandt's Woman Bathing in a Stream.
Drawn in Colour
Degas from the Burrell Collection
One of the great British industrialist art collectors, Sir William Burrell (1861–1958) had a particular passion for the work of the French Impressionist Edgar Degas. This catalogue, with its essays on Degas and Burrell, and commentary on over 30 works, accompanied an exhibition in 2017, on the centenary of Degas’ death. Reflecting the artists’ preoccupations with dancers and horse-racing, the works reproduced include the famous The Rehearsal and Jockeys in the Rain.
A Closer Look
In celestial choirs, bearing souls up to heaven, with wings or without, as God’s messengers or warriors in armour: however they appear, angels are easily recognizable, their images familiar from centuries of Christian art. Erika Langmuir takes ‘a closer look’ at the various roles of angels, archangels and guardians depicted in paintings from the National Gallery collection, and traces the history of angels in the Christian tradition.
The Art of Worship
Paintings, Prayers, and Readings for Meditation
Medieval altarpieces, Italian Renaissance masterpieces and Dutch old masters all feature prominently in this portfolio of paintings from the National Gallery, selected for religious contemplation. Biblical scenes and stories and secular works are offered as a starting point for reflection on issues of life and the human experience as well as Christian teachings.
George Bellows and the Ashcan Painters
Inspired by Robert Henri’s insistence that artists should ‘make pictures from life’, the Ashcan group rejected Impressionism and academic realism in favour of a bold style that expressed the harsh reality of America’s urban poor in the early 1900s. Giving particular attention to twelve of George Bellows’ images, this introduction explores his work in the context of the wider movement.