Today I decided to get out from behind my desk, enjoy the sunshine and explore London in search of some inspiration.
One of the places that I always enjoy visiting is the National Gallery. Founded in 1824, The National Gallery houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to the early 20th century. Like many of London’s iconic museums and Galleries its permanent collections are free to the public. There are many things I love about the National Gallery, if you visit at the right time of day (early morning or late afternoon) it is pretty quiet and peaceful, just a few steps away from the hustle and bustle of central London. There are loads of benches inside and its a great place to sit with a coffee and sketchbook and think, or just wonder round and take some inspiration from artists like Vincent van Gogh, Turner, Cézanne, Monet and Rembrandt.
Another thing I like about The National Gallery is the general layout of collections. There is a system to getting across the gallery and find a specific painting or artist. Most collections are arranged in chronological order starting with 1200-1500 and the layout of rooms guide you through time with the final collections from 1700-1930. There are also rooms where you can find specific artists like Claude and Turner, Artists of certain countries like the Netherlands, France and Italy or artist movements such as Monet and the Impressionists.
Despite its size, The National Gallery is very easy to navigate. Each room is curated to tell a different story through the chosen artists and artwork on display.
Here are some of my favourite photographs taken on my visit today
One of my Favourite paintings I found today is ‘The Battle of Jemappes’ created in 1821,
Emile-Jean-Horace Vernet. This HUGE painting is one of the group ‘Four battle scenes’.
“On 6 November 1792 Dumouriez defeated the Austrians under the Duke of Saxe-Teschen and Clerfayt at Jemappes, near Mons. This led to the French occupation of Belgium. This is one of four battle scenes painted by Vernet for the duc d’Orléans (later King Louis-Philippe) depicting French successes in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.”
I am blown away by the level of detail in this painting, each time you look at it you spot another detail of the battle. The changing light of the painting from the bright left hand corner across the moody, cloudy sky and burning flames on the right give a sense of a windy day with movement in the air and adds to the ambience and atmosphere of the artwork.
Here are some close up photographs I took of the painting:
I was also happy to not be the only person wondering around with a sketchbook in hand and could help snapping a picture of this gentleman (with permission 🙂 ) sketching one of his favourites.
If you want to check out The National Gallery website, I’ve linked it here!
And of corse once you leave the National Gallery you can make your way onto whitehall and see The Horse Guards Parade a fantastic example of tradition and military pageantry at its finest!