Friday, August 7, 2009

The National Gallery & Tate Modern

My wife & I took our two children up to London this week to soak up a bit of culture at the National Gallery & the Tate Modern.

They had been studying various works of art at school so to actually see them in the flesh was quite an experience for them.
Their favourite painting was 'The Ambassadors' by Hans Holbein the Younger. My son immediately laid on the floor to the bottom left of the painting so that he could look up to admire the anamorphic skull. It is reckoned that the painting was originally displayed over a staircase so that those climbing the stairs would be able to view the skull from the correct angle.

After climbing the lions on Trafalgar Square we took the tube to St. Pauls and from there made our way to the Tate Modern via the Millennium Bridge that my son fondly recognised from the recent Harry Potter film.

The Tate was a completely different experience for them - we got hold of some of the family activity worksheets and tried our hands sketching some sculptures and making our own with bits of cardboard and string. We also spent what time we had left in the day browsing round the galleries although my son's reaction to some of the pieces probably ruffled a few feathers : )

As for myself I feel that the greatest piece of art at the Tate Modern is the building itself - it is a fantastic example of Art Deco industrial architecture, almost cathedral like as if built to worship the power it would create in its original use.
I also have a soft spot for Battersea Power Station (also one of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's creations) and whilst I was at art college I photographed the building and produced a series of screen prints.

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