In London? We recommend…
There are just a couple of weeks left to visit ‘Mantegna and Bellini‘ at The National Gallery. The exhibition tells the tale of two artists and brothers-in-law, who helped to shape the Renaissance, and their mutual rivalry and inspiration. Giovanni Bellini (1430 – 1516) was born and died in Venice. Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506) was born in Padua in the Republic of Venice but died in Mantua after working for the Gonzaga dynasty for many years. Mantegna married Bellini’s sister which saw him enter the rival Bellini family.
The exhibition draws a contrast between Mantegna’s dynamic and thrilling realism and Bellini’s quieter and atmospheric compositions, often featuring landscapes. Comparisons of the artists’ work are evident in their ostensibly similar versions of Agony in the Garden which hang next to each other. Mantegna’s amplified definition and skilful and dramatic foreshortening of the saints lying in the foreground exemplify the ground-breaking technique of foreshortened perspective for which he is known. Bellini’s depiction is rather more contemplative in a rural landscape setting with the atmospheric sky evoking a sense of calm and hope lacking in Mantegna’s starker and bleaker depiction.
Other highlights include Mantegna’s Triumph of the Virtues, typically Renaissance in subject matter, which features the grotesque and monstrous vices being expelled from a garden by the pagan goddess Minerva, a rare secular work amongst largely religious subject matter. Bellini’s use of light in his portrait and the subtlety of expression in his portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan exemplify his skill at capturing humanity in both his portraits and religious works.
This exhibition offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to see rare loans of Renaissance paintings and drawings by these two intriguing artists and brothers in one place. Don’t miss it!
Where: Strawberry Hill House, 268 Waldegrave Rd, Twickenham TW1 4ST
When: 20th October 2018 – 24th February 2019
Tickets: Book your tickets here
On Saturday 20th October, Strawberry Hill House opened its doors to the much anticipated exhibition – Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill. The exhibition reunites masterpieces from Horace Walpole’s collection back in the house to be seen as Walpole had intended. Horace Walpole was a politician, antiquarian, historian, writer, social commentator, and a passionate collector. Between 1749 and 1790 Walpole created the gothic revival style house, Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham. In 1842 Walpole’s collection was dispersed in a sale which scattered the artefacts and artworks around the globe. After nearly 180 years the exhibition brings back many items from Walpole’s collection.
Highlights not to be missed from the exhibition include the Roman marble eagle which dates from the first century AD. Initially shown in Walpole’s house in Arlington Street it then moved to The Great Parlour of Strawberry Hill House and eventually lived in the Gallery from 1763. Its current position in the window of the Great Parlour casts a silhouette for visitors to catch a glimpse of as they walk round to the entrance of the house giving them a taste of the treasures to be discovered when they enter.
Any visitor will remark upon the vast number of portraits in the exhibition, including the 33 copies of Holbein portraits in the aptly named Holbein Chamber. The design and contents of this room, which was built in 1759, evokes the reign of Henry VIII. It is therefore fitting that another standout piece, Cardinal Wolsey’s vibrant red hat, is on display in this very room as Cardinal Wolsey was Henry VIII’s chief adviser. This exhibition is proof that not all of London’s best art is in zone 1 and that a trip out of the centre to visit the Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill House is definitely worth it!
Boodle Hatfield is proud to sponsor the Strawberry Hill Treasure Hunt blog.