Joseph M. W. Turner is with no doubt one of Great Britain’s most celebrated painters. He achieved success at a quite early age and when he died, he left to the nation a vast collection of paintings, drawings and sketches, which are now housed by Tate Britain’s Clore Gallery.
The 10 rooms of the Clore Gallery, which opened to the public in 1987, are entirely devoted to Turner’s work, and since they are part of the museum’s permanent collection, their admission is free of charge. They house some historical paintings the artist painted during the Napoleon wars, and numerous landscapes and marines depicting real and imaginary scenes inspired by his travels in Britain and all over Europe – Turner went to Germany, France, Italy, and he particularly loved Venice. The vibrant colours and poetic atmosphere of some of his late masterpieces are surprisingly modern. Tate Britain’s collection is a must see, but its gallery on Turner is arguably enough to make it stand in the world-class museums category.
Tate Britain is open every day form 10.00 to 18.00 and until 22.00 on the first Friday of each month
Nearest Tube station : Pimlico
Alongside world-class museums including the National Gallery, the British Museum or the Tate Modern, London is host to less popular museums that also display outstanding works of art. In the Courtault gallery, housed by the sumptuous Somerset House on the Strand, you won’t queue to get your ticket, nor will you struggle to get a glimpse at the paintings, as it is hardly ever crowded (as you can see on the pictures…). The building itself, with its elegant rooms and monumental staircase, is a jewel box for an equally understated collection:
The ground floor features interesting works from the Middle Ages, but the Courtault is undoubtedly renown for the impressionist paintings of the 1st floor. Manet’s “A bar at the Folies-Bergère”, famous for its mirror reflection of the scene and the mysterious air of the waitress, is the star of the collection, followed by other masterpieces by Monet or Renoir. The much-admired Cézanne’s “Card players” and an nth view of Mount Sainte-Victoire are displayed alongside Gauguin’s paintings of Tahitian girls.
The top floor gathers aerial sculptures of dancers by Degas, and a collection of paintings from the 21st century, including fauvist works.
The collection is completed with several Renaissance and Baroque paintings, and drawings from masters such as Da Vinci or Canaletto.
The best part of it being that you can enter the Courtault Gallery for free every Monday before 2pm, or at any time if you’re a student. Now there’s no excuse to miss this opportunity!
Nearest Tube Station: Temple
Link to the Courtault Institute Website
Posted in arts and culture, London for free, museums, really cool stuff
Tagged art, gallery, impressionist, museum, painting, sculpture, Somerset House, strand