by jon smith
If you are an art fan, the London is a fantastic place to engage with your hobby, providing a wide range of galleries spanning all types and eras of art. There will be something to suit every art-lover in this buzzing city, but if you are unsure what to see first, this list is the thing for you! Here we will guide you through the various galleries and give you a taster of what to expect from each of them, enabling you to make the most of your time, and see the right things.
1) The National Gallery, London
Within the walls of the national gallery is contained an impressive collection of paintings from all over Western Europe, from a period of time spanning from the 13th to the 19th centuries. The gallery is open to the public for 361 days out of the year, and best of all, its free of charge! The National Gallery cares for paintings from some big names such as Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio, Van Dyck, Monet and Van Gogh making it a must-see first stop for art lovers. The gallery is open from 10pm to 6pm every day, extending opening hours to 9pm on Fridays. The current exhibition, the Metamorphasis: Titian 2012 exhibition, is run in collaboration with The Royal Ballet.
2) Somerset House
Somerset House boasts strikingly impressive architecture, branded a ‘neo-classical’ building, with 55 fountains in the courtyard during the summer, and a popular ice rink in their place in the winter. Since the foundation of the Somerset House Trust in 1997, the gallery has become well known for the public events it puts on, such as concerts and open-air films. The gallery is host to the London Fashion Week from 14th-18th September 2012, the Vodafone London Fashion Week from 20th-23rd September 2012, and are running a free guided tour of the hidden spaces and history of the gallery on the 27th September 2012. If your visit doesn’t happen to coincide with one of these events, there is still plenty to do inside with the Courtauld Gallery found within, and playing host to the work of famous painters such as Rubens, Manet, Cezanne and Van Gogh. Somerset House opening times vary between different exhibitions and different sections of the house, and different exhibitions are priced individually. A visit to the website before visiting will allow you to get the information you need about your particular favourite exhibition.
3) The Royal Academy of Arts
The Royal Academy of Arts was founded in 1768 (making it the oldest art collection in Britain) by George III, and 34 well known architects and artists, who sought professional standing for British art and architecture. They also aimed to provide a publicly exhibition venue, as well as a school to pass on their talents and skills to others. The Main Galleries play host to a number of intriguing exhibitions per year; the current exhibition being ‘Bronze’: a celebration of bronze as a material used in artistic creations. This exhibition runs from 15th September – 9th December 2012. Bookings for this exhibition are required unless you are a Friend of the Royal Academy, and tickets for adults are ?15.50.This gallery enables a fantastic melding of the old with the new, with the annual Summer Exhibition featuring works from emerging artists, while only a short distance away you will find a sculpture by Michelangelo, and a copy of Da Vinci’s Last Supper. The Royal Academy is open from 10am-6pm Saturday-Thursday, and 10am-10pm on Fridays.
4) Tate Modern
The Tate Modern is built on the site of the former Bankside Power Station, commemorated with the Turbine Hall, which extends the fill length of the building. This gallery is the home to the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day, housing nearly 70,000 pieces of art by over 3,000 artist. Contained within are famous artists such as Joseph Mallord William Turner (2500 of his artworks can be accessed online), Salvador Dal?, Edvard Munch, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol.
The Tate Modern is open from 10am-6pm Sunday-Monday, and 10am-10pm on Friday and Saturday.
5) Tate Britain
The Tate Britain houses the world’s largest collection of British fine art, containing artworks spanning the last half a milennium. Admission to Tate Britain is free, except for special exhibitions, and the gallery is open from 10am-6pm Saturday-Thursday, and 10am-10pm on Friday. If you are able to visit on the first Friday of every month, the gallery hosts Late at Tate Britain: an evening of free events, talks and films. The Clore Gallery comes highly recommended, so if you’re a fan of British fine art, why not take a look?
So whether you are a fan of the Renaissance or British fine art, sculptures or paintings, you will be able to find something to suit your interest in London. But why not explore more for yourself? The taster in this list should be enough to fill any week or weekend, but if you haven’t quite found what you’re looking for among this list of big names, why not have a look for some of the smaller galleries. You’re sure to find something to tickle your fancy.
This article was created on behalf of luxury London hotel the Connaught. If you need an extra hand planning your perfect day in London then why not ask one of the Connaught’s ever helpful conceirge team?