Kelvingrove Art Collection
What unites Glasgow Boys, impressionists, art nouveau and Renaissance? Madonna (I mean Mother Mary, of course) and ballerinas? Glass, wood and silver? If you've been to Kelvingrove, you know the answer. If not, I will be happy to show it to you.
Welcome inside Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow!
As far as we're in Scotland, we have to begin with Scottish artists. Seems fair enough? Then let me introduce you to the Glasgow Boys. These 19th century painters worked throughout the country and were not only associates but friends. Like most of modern British bands, they loved to hang out together (usually at someone's place), chat, philosophise and create.
Mainly, their works reflected rural landscapes, village people and bucolic life; you can find on their canvases so many interesting and masterful portraits, amusing local festivities, quiet and majestic desolate places. Among their works are also legendary stories and even several marine spots. They were influenced by the French and Dutch art of that period; even in their rural still lifes you can feel the exquisite but strong brush strokes, dramatic, shimmering light and masterfully conveyed mood. It's realism and fantasy at once. Imperfection in its most perfect state.
The exhibition that begins on the ground floor will struck you with the huge, fiery portrait of the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. You might think: "How on earth did John Lavery deliver this passion, ecstasy, movement in this painting?" Anna posed for him in his studio, without this harsh stage light. I have no idea how she managed to remain in this pose for a long time, but I can say for sure that this expressive picture is the merit of the two masters: the artist and the model.
Some of Glasgow Boys painted from the pictures they took with their film or plate cameras. Look at this mist above the river. My dream has always been to capture the fog. And Robert Macaulay Stevenson's work did it in some kind of magical way.
He was an impressionist. If you check out his other works, you'll be amazed and captivated by his utter desire to struck you with realism, the natural colours, the authentic mood of the landscapes. Some of his paintings from Highlands look better than any photo. Somehow he managed to put onto the canvas so much of different Scotland - sunny and moody, majestic and homely.
This James Paterson's work was painted from a photo. He wasn't just a talented artist but a brilliant photographer. When his house was first turned into a museum (before it was sold), they had his films and glass plates, which were displayed there for a while. I think that now you can find them in Glasgow University Library that got ahold of them in 2003.
My photographs don't even make up a fifth of Kelvingrove's brilliant collection. Sure you can google the artworks of the establishment and catch a tune of what Glasgow Boys did. But if you find yourself in Glasgow, please don't ignore this corner of Kelvingrove - you'll find a lot of fascinating objects and most definitely fall in love with one or all of the Boys.
Art nouveau section is what you can't imagine Glasgow without, because the most famous and popular architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and his wife Margaret are the symbols of the city and the whole country. Charles wasn't that popular when he was alive. The fame caught up with him only several decades after his death, but his works and the works of his community still catch the eye.
Fairy stories and flowers are what his contemporaries and his wife mostly depicted. Floral paintings could be seen practically on every stained glass of the beginning of the 20th century.
Margaret Macintosh made impossibly delicate, ethereal silver bas reliefs. Her works are saturated with love. Around them, you feel yourself easy and free, while your heart is about to burst with elation.
When you stop in front of the delicate brushes and hand mirrors, intricately decorated by a hand, you won't escape the feeling that your hand is holding them as your eyes scrutinise the outlines.
The beginning of the 20th century was marked by a return to nature, the desire of artists to root and be closer to flowers and the ground. Glass objects also differed in unusual shapes and colours close to natural (green, earthy yellow).
But home is not only about windows, jugs and brushes, right? You can see all sorts of everyday objects that were made by Mackintoshes, including chairs, tables, cabinets, hangers, huge decorative panels, and feel the beginning of the eco design conception that is alive to this day.
This is where the exhibition on the ground floor ends. I didn't show (deliberately) a lot of halls of natural history objects in the left wing. Kelvingrove is not only an Art Gallery, but a scientific and historical museum. So if you get bored with art, you can proceed to another hall and find something even more thrilling.
I mentioned the word "impressionist" earlier, and one of the Glasgow Boys is not the only one who represents this art movement. The first floor gives you the Dutch and French art which impacted the latter artists with its power.
I love this portrait of A. Reid by Vincent van Gogh. Alex Reid was a Glasgow art dealer, who met Vincent in Paris. They shared an apartment for a few months, and that was when van Gogh painted Alex. The similarity to the real person hides even in the colours: Vincent chose them not only by the whim of his taste, but the impression that the young man left. Reds, oranges, greens - they perfectly match each other, leaving you with in a heightened mood, as if you just saw a sun coming out from behind the clouds.
Maximilian Luce keeps up with van Gogh's sunny mood.
This threesome is hilarious, really. Look at the amused face of the girl and the sulky gentlemen with her. And tell me you're not getting fun!
One of my favourite topics are fairy tales. Romanticism bloomed not only in poems. The pictures of the Sleeping Beauty are extensively beautiful. Attend the room of the Sleeping Beauty. You'll find there some interactive surprises.
If you're a fan of the North Renaissance, you will definitely find these gorgeous paintings of Mother Mary fascinating.
A very few modern photographers can do a delicious still life like this.
The Dutch art is actually closing the exhibition on the first floor. It gives a perfect insight on how realism and romanticism were changing in the matter of several centuries.
Ертфл you for joining me in these very sweet memories of Glasgow. If you enjoyed this little walk over the two floors of Kelvingrove Art Gallery slot, please take my invitation to the next and older posts. I will be glad to hear your thoughts about the impression that Kelvingrove has left you with so far.