Sunday, 22 November 2015

An Afternoon at the National Art Gallery

There are a couple of new shows at the National Art Gallery in Ottawa and I spent a happy afternoon there, checking them out. One of the shows is about a group of paintings Monet produced during an early part of his career. They were really interesting and some of them were very beautiful. People were not allowed to take pictures in this show, but I did take a shot of the entryway, with a big portrait of Monet himself at the entrance, and a large copy of one of his paintings overhead (and a rather tired-looking guard leaning against the wall on the right!). 

The other show is called "Beauty's Awakening" and consists of a large collection of drawings that were recently donated to the National. This large poster of one of the drawings was hanging near the entrance to this show. 

The public is allowed to take photos in this show so I took some pics of drawings I really liked. This is a drawing by the pre-Raphaelite artist, Edward Burne Jones. 

This is a beautiful drawing (I didn't make of note of the artist's name). Seeing these drawings really made me want to pick up my charcoal and start sketching again. 

William Holman Hunt drew this sensitive portrait of his second wife, the sister of his first wife, who had died. It sounds like they had a difficult life at first, but this drawing shows how much he must have loved her. Beautiful! 

After an hour or so looking at the many lovely drawings in the "Beauty's Awakening" show, I wandered into another part of the National. Across the hall were the galleries with contemporary art. Wow! What a complete change of pace. This bold sculpture struck my eye as soon as I walked in the door. The top part has what looks like car parts inside and the white base is an old freezer! 

This room has a huge piece that covers a whole wall. The images are very provocative when you get close to them. 

Then I wandered back in time a bit and found this Henry Moore sculpture in a part of the gallery with mid 20th century British artists. Moore's people always look like they just sat down, leaned back, and don't intend to ever get up again. 

One of the things I like about going to big art galleries like the National is that you really can time-travel there. My afternoon had started in the late nineteenth century, jumped to the present day, then wandered back to the mid-twentieth century, then back even further to the Romantic period. It really was refreshing to the eyes and mind to see all these products of artists from various times and places and to see them all so beautifully presented. Truly a delightful afternoon!