Wednesday, July 16, 2014

45 Days in London: Day 23

Today we visited the Tate Britain, which has an entire wing dedicated to JMW Turner, one of my all-time favorite painters.

Turner's most famous pieces are in the National Gallery, but I loved the sheer quantity at the Tate (37,000 works, which they rotate). I especially enjoyed seeing his sketchbooks and color studies, and the unfinished works recovered posthumously from his studio. Such a fantastic look at his process. I would love to bring my students here.

One of the students rightly observed that while Turner's subject matter is not religious, the fact that  his light-infused skies typically dominate the composition gives his work a spiritual quality, placing the emphasis heavenward. I agree!

The Tate also has a Henry Moore gallery (I have always loved his sculptures), and galleries of modern art arranged by decade from the 19th century through 2000.

Everybody was getting a little grumpy, so we stopped for lunch across the street at the little cafeteria at the London University of Art. We grabbed a quick sandwich and a drink to revive us. And admired the robust hollyhocks.

Then it was back to the Tate for William Blake, John Singer Sargent and more.

In the evening we walked over to the Cinema Lumiere at the Institut Francais and saw The Young and Prodigious T. S. Spivet. It is a charming story about a 10-year-old scientist who leaves his home on a Montana ranch to meet with the director of the Smithsonian. The cinematography was beautiful. Almost too beautiful, if that's even possible. It was so gorgeous that it almost got in the way of the story. But I loved every minute.

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