Over the summer there has been a wealth of new and exciting exhibitions in and around London and internationally, and this is reflected in the recent acquisitions on show in our New Book Display. There is a variety of material on view, ranging from bold psychedelic art in the Sixties (Electrical Banana), a comprehensive collection of talks by well-known art historians, artists, curators and critics (The Secession Talks: Exhibitions in Conversation 1998 – 2010) with brilliant orange-red edged pages,to works on Warhol and Picasso. Some of the highlights include:
Peter Lely: A Lyrical Vision
The catalogue for the Courtauld Gallery’s current exhibition, Peter Lely: A Lyrical Vision is on the UK Exhibitions stand. This exhibition is an opportunity to see some of the most rare and enigmatic paintings of 17th century England, and will be on until the 13th of January. It looks at the early work of Peter Lely, (1618-1680) the celebrated portraitist. Lely was Charles II’s Principal Painter, but this exhibition looks instead at Lely’s early work- allegorical paintings of lush idyllic landscapes, shepherds, nymphs and musicians, painted after the turmoil of the Civil War. These works illustrate Lely’s initial ambition to become a painter of narrative scenes, yet they proved unpopular with his patrons, and he produced only thirty. The book jacket shows Lely’s The Concert, arguably one of Lely’s most personal and intriguing works, as the musician seated in the centre of the composition could well be Lely himself. Lely was influenced by artists such as Titian, and by the time of his death had a rich collection of Italian 16th and 17th drawings. A catalogue pertaining to this collection, dating from 1758, is available in our CABS (Closed Access Book Store) section.
Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde
The current exhibition at Tate Britain, Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde, brings to the fore some of the best-known and most iconic work of the Pre-Raphaelites, a self-styled ‘brotherhood’ of painters- led by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt-whose work revolutionized fine art with their heady use of symbolism, colour, and controversial subject matter such as poverty and prostitution. The book delves into the history and impact of the Pre-Raphaelites, from their work’s poor initial reception- after viewing Millais’s Christ in the House of His Parents, (1849-50)Charles Dickens dismissed the figure of Mary as ‘horrible in her ugliness’-to their present-day status as arguably highly influential artists.
Illustrated throughout with some of their most well-known works- such as John Everett Milliais’ Ophelia- the exhibition cataloguefocuses on the Pre-Raphaelites’ revolutionary techniques and ideas, their role in the Arts and Crafts movement, and their impact on society and art. It also includes essays by Diane Waggoner (author of The Pre-Raphaelite Lens, 2010, Z5020 WAS NAT) and Elizabeth Prettejohn (author of Art of the Pre-Raphaelites, 2000, D467 PRE.) We have a wide range of other material on both the Pre-Raphaelites and Peter Lely in our collections.
There are also new exhibition catalogues for exhibitions based in Liverpool, work on Hong Kong artists, Korean art and other interesting current exhibitions, so please take a look the next time you’re in the Book Library.
About the exhibition: Peter Lely: A Lyrical Vision
The Courtauld Gallery Blog (which includes additional information on The Concert and on curating the exhibition)
About the Tate Britain’s exhibition Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde
Blog for Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde (which includes an interesting ‘drawing/painting of the week’ feature)
Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery Preraphaelites Online Resource
The world’s largest Preraphaelite online collection: the extensive digital collection of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery (over 3000 images) has been digitised, allowing users detailed access to their images and full record information.
-Eleanor Keane, Graduate Trainee Assistant.