Archive for March 16th, 2013

One of the iconic lions standing guard at the base of Nelson’s Column in London’s Trafalgar Square:


FCMPOne of my favorite public spaces is Trafalgar Square in London. I just love it. I love the scale of it, the grandeur of it and the overall sense of place you feel standing in the middle of it. When you stand in Trafalgar Square with the city around you, there is no doubt you are in London. The glory of Nelson’s Column guarded by four massive lions, the spire of St. Martin’s of the Field, the red busses and black cabs rushing by and the clear view down Whitehall of the magnificent towers of Parliament including Big Ben – iconic London. Oh yes, and then there is Trafalgar Square’s largest tenant: no, not pigeons, the fabulous National Gallery, one of the world’s finest public museums.

I stop in the National Gallery every time I am in London and it is always a joy. Sometimes I am there to see a special exhibition, and other times I am sneaking in to kill time between a matinee and an evening show at one of the many nearby West End theatres. However, whatever the reason, the National Gallery is always a treat – and best of all, admission is free.

On this trip I was pleased to see a special exhibition of the work of American artist Frederick Church: Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch.

About Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch: “Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch displays a distinctive aspect of the work of Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900), his landscape oil sketches. Church was a leading member of the Hudson River School of landscape painters, active in the mid-19th century, and a key American exponent of the oil sketch which he executed both at home and on his extensive travels to Niagara Falls, Labrador, Jamaica, Mexico and the Middle East. This exhibition brings together around 25 oil sketches. Works are drawn from the incomparable collections of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York, and Olana, Church’s picturesque estate along the Hudson River, now a New York State Historic Site.”

Although modest, the Church exhibition is a nice balance to the old world masterpieces in the other galleries. Not to be entirely outdone by the grandeur of the adjacent master works, the Church exhibition includes: “a single, monumental painting, ‘Niagara Falls, from the American Side’ (1867), showing the relationship between sketch and finished masterpiece.”

Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch continues at London’s National Gallery through April 28, 2013.

Visit the National Gallery online here.