To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at damselwithadulcimer.wordpress.com and my theatre reviews at www.playstosee.com
Published May 19th 2013
Historical Art History at Tate Britain
Tate Britain, originally known as Tate Gallery, and positioned on the north bank of the Thames since 1897, has undergone a major rehanging of its artworks. Its national collection of art is now hung chronologically around the gallery's outer perimeter, ensuring that the major historical works (dating from 1545) are on permanent display. There are no thematic, movement or artist led arrangements; merely a walk through the Tate's collections, dating from just before the first Queen Elizabeth, to our second Elizabethan age in the twenty-first century.
You can trace the development of artistic interpretations, beginning with sixteenth-century portraits, or contrast the works of different artists produced within a similar period. Of course there are not just paintings on display, but sculptures as well. With this kind of arrangement you can follow historical periods and events and observe how they were interpreted by contemporary artists.
Joseph Highmore's Pamela is Married from 1743 (one of a series of paintings inspired by Samuel Richardson's novel) is an indication of just how popular that epistolary tale about a virtuous woman, and her struggles to retain her chastity, must have been.
Joseph Highmore's Pamela is Married at Tate Britain
Joseph Wright of Derby's atmospheric chiaroscuro 1772 depiction of an iron forge transports us back to the beginnings of the industrial revolution in the north of England, and is another of his works that convey his fascination with the use of light.
Joseph Wright of Derby's An Iron Forge at Tate Britain
Turner's 1818 The Field of Waterloo, was exhibited just three years after the battle that defeated Napoleon and his dreams of conquering Europe.
Turner's The Field of Waterloo at Tate Britain
David Hockney's painting from the early 1970s of Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy is a reminder of the fashion designer Ossie Clark and the prints created by his wife, Celia Birtwell. After 40 years Hockney is still going strong, and Ossie's vintage designs are still sought after.
David Hockney's Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy at Tate Britain
Over the last 116 years The Tate, built on the back of sugar production, has spawned offspring in the shapes of Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives (in the 1980s) and the hugely popular Tate Modern in the old Bankside Power Station in 2000. Art may be inert, but its producers and exhibitors are constantly evolving.