The Colours of London Art Week

This week is host to London Art Week (July 4 2014 – July 11 2014), and we decided to take a stroll through London’s Mayfair and St. James’s to see what was happening in participating galleries. But before beginning this journey through the city, we thought it would be exciting to start by visiting the current exhibition at the National Gallery, “Making Colour”.

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“Making Colour” takes a unique approach to present us a scientific exploration of the use of colour from the early renaissance to the impressionist. As you enter the Sainsbury Wing Exhibition you are immersed into a voyage through the colour wheel, not only to discover the struggle and frustration of painters to achieve the perfect pigments, but also to understand the way in which our eyes and brain responds to colour in unexpected ways.

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Sassoferrato
The Virgin in Prayer
1640-50
Oil on canvas

After leaving this exhibition your perception of art will change.

“Making Colour” clearly reveals the possibilities given to modern artists - such as the impressionists - to play around with colour and really explore it. In the 19th century new, cheap colours became available and widely accessible, making it possible for artists like Cezanne and Monet to use these colours freely and excessively. Prior to this, artists did not have the option of simply squeezing different types of blue from a tube… the paintings were more limited and costly due to their origins. It’s interesting to understand how this influenced the work of the new artists that were arising at the time.

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Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas
Combing the Hair (‘La Coiffure’)
about 1896
Oil on canvas

It’s impossible not to love the Degas exhibited in the Red Room. For an exhibition exploring colour, “Combing the Hair” is a unique examination of tones. The extensive use of red, the artist’s attempt and dedication to study colour and construct this monochromatic artwork is impressive. The colour of such passion and deep emotion really gets you to stop to contemplate the artist’s work.  

After leaving the National Gallery we make our way to Cesare Lampronti Gallery where there is an exhibition of European Still Life from 1600-1700. And then continue with the vast opportunities to see Old Masters paintings and drawings in Colnaghi Gallery, Weiss Gallery and William Thuilier. We are able to appreciate these paintings with new eyes, as the focus of pigments in each of them seems so interesting and unique now. Makes us wonder the journey of the artists to achieve their desired colours. 

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Make sure to visit participating galleries of London Art Week before it ends this Friday 11th of July!