Monday, July 29, 2013

And Now a Bit About Sunday

We spent most of Sunday morning 'catching up' - writing emails, organizing photos, chores, and errands.
In the afternoon we headed over to Somerset House.
The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court was extremely popular - especially with little boys!
The Courtauld Institute of Art and Gallery now resides in much of Somerset House.  The Gallery is, I think, one of London's Little Gems. The gallery specializes in French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, but has a nice representation of other periods as well.  

Religious paintings are generally 'not my thing', but I found Peter Bruegel the Elder's use of 'grisaille' or only shades of gray in "Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery" very compelling. I am always charmed when the artist takes people and events from Palastine and localizes them.  Everyone in the painting is Dutch - wearing contemporary Dutch clothing, and Christ is writing on the floor in Dutch.   

Here's a selection of some of the other early works - including more localized religious paintings.

Time and again I am drawn to family portraits.  This is the family of Jan Bruegel the Elder by Rubens. The family is very engaged with one another - hands resting on each other showing their bond and connection with each other.

Moving on to Impressionist paintings, I found this Manet to be riviting.  The bar maid leans forward and looks directly at us.  She is still and alone amidst the frentic chaos reflected in the mirror behind her.  

The Courtauld Gallery also had works by Picasso, Degas, Monet, Seurat, and Gauguin.
We next headed over to Trafalghar Square - it was packed on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
We'd read that the fountains were supposed to be blue in honor of George, the young Prince of Cambridge.  But apparently the fountains don't come on until dark.  Darn it!
There's always interesting entertainment at Trafalghar Square.

I don't have a clue how this guy remains elevated.  I saw him move his shoes around and it was as though there was nothing at all beneath them.

But this was the main reason for our visit to Trafalghar Square.  A new art installation on the 4th Plinth.

It's called "Hahn-Cock" and is a giant blue rooster. It is 15 1/2 feet tall and weighs 1763 lbs.
The rooster is the national symbol of France and Trafalghar Square is dominated by Admiral Nelson - the victor over a naval battle over the French...hmmmm.


Chris said...

Another wonderful afternoon. That blue sky over Trafalgar square looks perfect. I hope that it is a little cooler. Wonderful art collection too.

cucki said...

yup another beautiful afternoon..full of joy and fun ..
love & smiles x

Giovanna said...

Hehe, last time I was at Somerset House there was the well-known ice-skating rink in the courtyard :-) Courtauld is definitely a gem - so is the Wallace Collection if you have time (but you're probably aware of it already): there's a portrait by Rembrandt of his son which is stunning and is one of my favourite paintings, plus lots more. Yeah, the blue rooster, what the hey? Hope you get to see the fountains lit up in blue.

Margaret said...

Love seeing all the beautiful art at Somerset House. And Trafalgar Square! Cool! lol about the rooster! I wonder what the symbolism is here? :D

Mary said...

That Manet is a favorite, we see her and we see what she sees reflected in mirror...very cool.

Vickie said...

What a lovely day. That bagpiper looks so hot!

Melissa said...

It's interesting to see the juxtaposition of Somerset House and the waterpark for the kids! Imagine what the original inhabitants would've thought about that!

Thanks for the photos of the paintings and Trafalgar Square. I read about the Blue Rooster in the local paper. These days it seems art is supposed to the weirder the better! ;-)

Barb said...

Such fun photos of Trafalgar Square.

Melanie said...

Fun, fun, fun!

And........Arrrgh! You're teasing me with another of these 'metallic' performers. It drives me crazy I can't figure it out. lol

hazel said...

Another interesting day, long time since I been round the TS area must go now to see the blue hem. Love your little sampler.

Glad you enjoyed HC and I know the gardens are beautiful especial in the springtime with all the spring flowers.

Enjoy your day whatever it may bring.


Maggee said...

Yeah--how is he suspended in the air? Inquiring minds...even a week or so later...