Saturday, 25 April 2015

Sony Photos 2015

Yesterday the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition opened in the West Wing of Somerset House in London. The exhibition showcases the winning and shortlisted photographers of submissions from across all disciplines. A record 173,444 images from 171 countries were submitted this year. Here is the photo that won 19-year-old student Yong Lin Tan from Malaysia the Youth Photographer of the Year award. It shows an alley behind his grandmother's house in Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia. This thumbnail doesn't do it justice; the stars in the night sky are awesome. Entry costs £10 for adults or £5 for silver surfers weekdays only (CLICK).

Elephant Bird Egg

Today Sotheby's in London put on public display this extremely rare Elephant Bird Egg in its galleries at 34–35 New Bond Street. It will be on view for only five days prior to Sotheby's Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History auction on Thursday 30 April. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view an egg from this Madagascan bird, which has been extinct for about 400 years. Sir David Attenborough counts such an egg amongst his most prized possessions and featured it in a recent TV programmes. His egg was pieced together from fragments. Lot 26 is intact. Can the Natural History Museum afford £30,000 to £50,000 (CLICK)?

Friday, 24 April 2015

Carbisdale Auction

On 20 May Sotheby's London will auction 17 sculptures from the Carbisdale Castle Collection in its 19th & 20th Century Sculpture sale. Shown is Pasquale Romanelli's Venus and Cupid in white marble on revolving verde antico column, estimated at £60,000 to £80,000 (CLICK).

Chauvet Cave Replica

A huge replica of the prehistoric Chauvet Cave in southwest France, which contains hundreds of works of art radiocarbon dated to be more than 35,000 years old, has finally opened. Hi-tech scans, 3D-modelling and digital images of the original cave were used to create the copy, which took eight years to build and cost 55m euro thingies. The stalagmites and stalactites were remade in resin (CLICK).

Artist of Peace

If you're planning a holiday around Lake Windermere during the summer, take note that today Blackwell The Arts & Crafts House opened Evelyn De Morgan: Artist of Peace, which runs until 13 September. Wife of Arts & Crafts ceramicist William de Morgan, Evelyn was a prolific artist in the style of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. She was also a supporter of the suffragette movement and a pacifist. Many of her works chosen for Blackwell were included in her solo exhibition held in the spring of 1916 in aid of the Red Cross, her pacifist contribution to the war effort. Shown is her S.O.S. (1914-16) short for Save Our Souls (CLICK).

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Pick Me Up 2015

Today Pick Me Up: Graphic Arts Festival 2015 opened in the Embankment Galleries, South Wing of Somerset House, London. The Festival runs until 4 May, admission £10 for adults, £8 for silver surfers or £17.50 for a Festival Pass. CLICK for the full schedule of events.

Saint George's Day

Happy Saint George's Day. Here's my favourite painting of Saint George and the Dragon (c. 1460) one of two by Paolo Uccello. (CLICK to see a larger graphic or visit The National Gallery in London to view the original.) England is the only country in the UK that doesn't have a holiday for its patron saint. Not that I'm into saints, but fair's fair. Will any political party in the general election pledge a holiday for Saint George? Come on. This could be the issue that breaks the deadlock.

Indigenous Australia

Today The British Museum opened Indigenous Australia enduring civilisation, organised with the National Museum of Australia and supported by BP. This is the first major exhibition in the UK to present a history of both Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders, diverse cultures which have survived for over 60,000 years. Shown is a Bark painting of a barramundi, Western Arnhem Land (about 1961). Admission costs £10 (CLICK). View The British Museum YouTube video introduction, published today.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Portrait Painters

The Mall Galleries in central London is currently holding the annual exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. There is a wide range of styles, media and prize-winners. Shown is Fabio by Brendan Kelly RP. Admission costs £3 for adults, £2.50 for silver surfers. CLICK for more pictures.

Earth Day

Did you know it is Earth Day today? (CLICK.) It's been going for 45 years and US President Obama has only just woken up to the fact that the world's finite resources are being gobbled up. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has taken the opportunity to blame all the world's ills on eating animals. US model Kelly Chin is the latest Name to get her kit off in the vegan cause. Here she is in Beijing, her skin painted with the oceans and continents of planet Earth. Nice, but global warming isn't all due to cow farts.

Pierre-Paul Prud’hon

The Dulwich Picture Gallery in London will be joining in the bicentenary commemorations of the Battle of Waterloo this June with Napoleon’s draughtsman: Pierre-Paul Prud’hon. An exceptional talent working in post-revolutionary Paris, Prud’hon caught the attention of Napoleon Bonaparte during his reign as Emperor I. The Dulwich has borrowed 12 works on paper from Gray’s Musée Baron Martin in France, never before seen in the UK. Shown is Prud’hon's superb chalk drawing Male Nude, Arm Extended. The display runs from 23 June to 15 November (CLICK)

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

No Privatisation

Staff at the National Gallery in London are striking again this week. No Privatisation is the call. They also want the London living wage, which they've been promised but not been granted, and the reinstatement of their PCS negotiator Candy. CLICK to see their support.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Waterloo Ignorance

The National Army Museum in London conducted a survey to find out what the British public knew about the Battle of Waterloo, one of the most momentous events in European History. 73% of respondents had little or no knowledge of the battle. Only 53% knew it was the Duke of Wellington who led the allied forces to victory. The remaining 47% thought it was Sir Winston Churchill, King Arthur or even Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series! Of the group aged 18-24, 84% said they know little or nothing about Waterloo and 12% said they had never heard of ir. 14% thought the French defeated the British at Waterloo, while a third had no idea who won (CLICK). As at least 25% of people living in London are foreigners, I'm surprised the results were this good. Politicians who advocate multiculturalism and witter on about immigrants learning British values haven't a clue what they're on about. Battle of Waterloo (1898) by William Holmes Sullivan was painted decades later. There were no war artists in those days. Shame.

Apsley House

Apsley House, the London home of the Dukes of Wellington, has been tarted up to celebrate the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815). The Iron Duke held lavish banquets annually in the Waterloo Gallery to celebrate his victory. English Heritage has relaid the huge banqueting table with over 1,000 pieces from the silver Portuguese Service. The Gallery contains 83 paintings from the Spanish royal collection. Admission costs £6.30 for adults, £5.70 for silver surfers (CLICK). Shown is Antonio Canova's Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker (1806) prior to his defeat. I thought Mars was the god of war!