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by Aileen Mitchell 26. November 2015 16:32

Buy art between Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year and we'll send you free ArtGallery.co.uk gift vouchers valid for a whole year!

Special offer lasts until midnight of Monday 30, November. Here's what you'll get when purchasing our beautiful original art:

£10 gift voucher for purchases between £100 - £249

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Gift vouchers are valid for a whole year and are the perfect present - so you can treat yourself and your loved ones in one go! Vouchers will be issued electronically shortly after your purchase. 

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Famous Art Saved From Destruction

by Aileen Mitchell 19. November 2015 17:11

This November we keep the theme of Guy Fawkes’ Night running as we look back at some key pieces of art that were so close to being destroyed.

Marcel Duchamp - Fountain

 

Whenever a revolutionary piece of art comes along, there’s always a bit of turbulence. Marcel Duchamp’s famous urinal was not only urinated on by a performance artist but almost smashed to bits by a hammer several years later … by the same artist!

Rembrandt van Rijn – Danae

 

One of Rembrandt’s most famous paintings, Danae, narrowly avoided melt-down whilst it was on display in the 1980’s. Hanging in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, one visitor took out a knife and began to slash the canvas around the figure’s stomach, throwing acid onto the painting before being escorted from the gallery. Twelve years later, Danae was restored to its original form by a dedicated team of artists, and remains on display.

Ilya Repin – Ivan Grozny and his son Ivan

 

This disaster proves that ‘taking a few backups’ applies to us all, not just the world of IT. After receiving three large gouges from a knife on the faces of the two Ivans, the painting was restored by two experts in under a week! It is thought the speed and expertise of the repair was greatly assisted by many good-quality photographs of the painting.

Leonardo da Vinci – The Virgin and Child with St Anne and St John the Baptist


The work from the famous Mona Lisa artist took almost a year to restore after a gallery visitor shooting at it in political protest. The painting, The Virgin and Child with St Anne and St John the Baptist was on display at the National Gallery in London behind protective glass. Although the glass did not break, the shattered splinters from the blast caused significant damage to the painting. It is now fully restored.

Picasso – Le Reve

The first Picasso to be accidentally damaged was Le Reve, a painting of his mistress Marie-Therese Walter. The owner of the work and casino magnate was due to sell the painting for a cool $139 million dollars before leaning on it and piercing the picture with his right elbow. Luckily, he was able to provide the funds of $90,000 for its repair.

 

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Art History

Moving art for Remembrance Sunday 2015

by Aileen Mitchell 13. November 2015 15:49

After the breathtakingly beautiful poppy display by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper at the Tower of London last year, more art is being made for Remembrance Sunday than ever. Once again, art becomes a way of expressing poignancy in all manner of styles and forms.

In the spirit of sharing art to commemorate the occasion, we have found that many of our own gallery members have produced works of art featuring poppies.  

Jean Tatton Jones - Remembrance

Jean Tatton’s piece, ‘Remembrance’, is a bold painting that demands the attention of the room. The semi-abstract acrylic is painted in silvers, whites and reds. The poppies around the bottom of the frame leave a stark sky that creates a space for reflection.

Deborah Norville - Summer Dreams

 

Deborah Norville creates a calm landscape background with a soft brush, bringing the poppies into full focus with palette knife detail.

Amanda Dagg - Field of Heroes

Amanda Dagg’s mix-media tryptic inspires reflection. The monochrome landscape contrasting with the vibrancy of the poppies showcases the poignancy of the scene. Creating a painting in three parts really creates an impact, wherever it is hung. 

Paula Horsley - Abstract Poppies (Sculptural)

 

Paula Horsley has created a fascinating dimension to her canvas by using resin in her painting. This gives it an almost sculptural feel up close and like a mosaic from further away. These poppies can be a pleasing abstract up close, and a summery image of a field of poppies from a distance.

Carol Wood - Red Sky at Night

There is plenty of depth to the painting, ‘Red Sky at Night’, by Carol Wood. The smooth background and layered grass in the foreground is very dramatic.

Tracy Jolly - Red Poppy Fields

Breaking away from the popular monochrome used to depict poppies, Tracy Jolly uses gold in her painting. The thick lines that make the flowers have an almost sculptural quality to them.

Angie Wright - Where Poppies Blow

Angie Wright left this as the description for her painting, ‘Where Poppies Blow’:

'The poppies sway in the breeze, a symbol of those who have lost their lives fighting for their country. I wanted to create a painting which recognised the lives of those men and women who are now lost to us. They were real people, who were loved and in turn loved. They laughed and cried and felt the sun on their skin. In this painting there is a sky which was full of sorrow for those soldiers, a sky which drips down the canvas, like heavy rain. There is still light and joy in the painting though, seen by the flowers dancing in the wind to signify the life and energy of those now lost to us.'

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Artists

5 Famous Paintings With Hidden Meanings

by Christie Cluett 2. November 2015 15:43

After ‘The Da Vinci Code’ became a best-selling phenomenon, conspiracy theorists and historians the world over joined as one to study the art world looking for secrets. With a helping hand from the internet, a huge number of attention-grabbing theories about famous paintings have risen to prominence ever since.

There has, of course, been a huge number of crackpot philosophies, which the more rationale minded of us have rightly debunked. That said, not all theories about secret messages in art are crazy – far from it, in fact. To prove this, here are five famous paintings with hidden meanings that both convince and astound in equal measure.

 

1. L. S Lowry’s ‘Matchstick Men’ Paintings

 

Above: An Accident, painted by L.S. Lowry in 1926. Image by Ben Sutherland

Lowry’s paintings are famous for depicting scenes of mid-20th Century working life in North West England. Characterised by a distinctive style that portrayed ‘matchstick men’ in industrialised urban settings, the art fraternity dismissed the merit of Lowry’s paintings for many years.

However, decades after the artist’s death, it is now clear there is a lot more to Lowry’s well-known works than first meets the eye. In the vast majority of the artist’s paintings, there are a multitude of ‘blink and you’ll miss them flashes’ of human suffering hidden within the everyday scenes of industrial England.

Take the 1926 painting An Accident, for example. In this picture (featured above) you will see a large group of people staring into a lake. This might seem perfectly mundane. However, a genuine local suicide actually inspired the painting, and the matchstick men are all gathered to look at a waterlogged corpse.

Within Lowry’s body of work, this is not an isolated example – fist fights, people being evicted from their homes and illustrations of isolation are all common. Meanwhile, each painting’s remaining matchstick men continue to get on with their daily lives, almost unaware of the suffering on their doorstep.

The hidden message? We’re all alone and our pain is meaningless. Despite the chasm of difference between industrial England and modern life, for many, the hidden messages imbued within Lowry’s work are as true today as when the artist first put paint to canvas.  

 

2. Michelangelo, The Sistine Chapel Ceiling

 

Above: The Sistine Chapel celling, the Vatican. Image by Matthew Riley

 The Renaissance period was a time of great learning and discovery, inspired by a throwback to the ancient Greek spirit of scientific inquiry. It was also a period where many artists loved to hide a few mysteries in their work for the eagle-eyed viewer – and Michelangelo was no different.

For those that don’t know, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting tells the story of the book of Genesis across nine sections. However, the subtext to this painting’s narrative is arguably more interesting than the well-thumbed Bible story at the forefront.

Michelangelo was a genius artist, sculptor and architect – however, fewer people know that he was also an expert anatomist. At the age of 17, Michelangelo began dissecting corpses from the church graveyard, with the intention of producing anatomical sketches and notes. 

What has become clear over 500 years later, is that the skills Michelangelo developed during this time were put to good use when painting the Sistine Chapel.

Concealed within the robes and the faces of the figures that Michelangelo painted, American scientists have found several anatomical sketches. This includes an image of the brain, cleverly hidden in the representation of God’s neck and chin in the section entitled ‘Separation of Light from Darkness.

Are you asking yourself why Michelangelo felt compelled to hide anatomical sketches in his work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? Well, a growing body of theorists believe it was the artist’s attempt at a clandestine attack on the church’s contempt for science.

 

3. Vincent Van Gogh, Cafe Terrace At Night

 

Above: Vincent Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night. Image from Wikimedia Commons

For many, Cafe Terrace at Night is one of Van Gogh’s most important paintings. If you look at the painting, like most, you’ll probably see an ordinary, unremarkable scene – albeit one painted with the artist’s trademark magic touch. Yet many believe the picture is actually a portrayal of the Last Supper.

So, let’s take a look at the evidence that points to this conclusion. First of all, as the son of a protestant minister, Van Gogh was very religious. For this reason, many art critics believe that many of Van Gogh’s seminal paintings displayed a binary relationship between art and Christian imagery. For many, Cafe Terrace At Night offers the best example of this theory.

The Last Supper is the final meal that Jesus sat down to eat with his 12 disciples. If you count them, Van Gogh’s painting clearly portrays 12 people sitting down to eat, with a long haired central figure standing among them.

Coincidence? Maybe. But when you take into account the number of hidden crosses in the painting – including one above the Christ-like figure – all the evidence points to the assertion that this painting truly is Van Gogh’s artistic expression of the Last Supper.

 

4. Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper

 

Above: Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous The Last Supper. Image by ideacreamanuelaPps

From Van Gogh’s pseudo Last Supper to the real thing. And we’re not talking about the Dan Brown world of cryptograms revealing the secret life of Jesus here. Instead, we’re focusing on a hidden message that will bring music to your ears – literally.

If you look at Da Vinci’s Last Supper (above), you will see a series of bread rolls that run across the centre of the painting. A few years ago, a musician found that by drawing the five lines of a musical staff across the painting, the bread rolls in combination with the Apostles’ hands lined up to make musical notes.

When read from right to left, which adheres to Da Vinci’s unique writing style, the notes combine to make a tuneful 40-second composition. Even disbelievers have admitted that the composition’s note perfect harmony is too good to be a coincidence. Plus, in true polymath-style, Da Vinci was an expert musician, as well as a painter, sculptor and inventor.

 

5. Diego Rivera, Man, Controller Of The Universe

 

Above: Diego Rivera’s 1934 mural, Man, Controller of the Universe. Image by Joaquín Martínez

Nelson Rockefeller originally commissioned Mexican artist Diego Rivera to paint Man at the Crossroads for the Rockefeller Centre in New York. But when he took exception to the painting’s depiction of the Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, he had it destroyed.

Diego Rivera eventually repainted the mural in Mexico City, and renamed it Man, Controller of the Universe. Yet upon its reconstruction, Rivera went ahead and made one key addition – a depiction of Nelson Rockefeller’s father under a bacterial interpretation of syphilis.

Therefore, the hidden meaning of this painting becomes immediately clear: Nelson Rockefeller’s father had syphilis. To hammer the insult home, Rivera also painted Rockefeller – a famed teetotal – holding a martini, while standing next to a woman who could easily be a prostitute. Oh, and Lenin was also given even more prominence in the reimagining of this painting.

 

Do our featured artists hide secret messages in their paintings? In all honesty, we haven’t got a clue. But by visiting the ArtGallery.co.uk homepage and using the search tool on the right, you might just find a painting that brings out the art detective in you.

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