Not seeing the wood for the trees

Yesterday Mrs M and I took a trip down to London. We were going to have a walk around the National gallery, something that we hadn’t done for some years.

We rolled into Euston Station and made our way to the gallery.

It was London.

It was raining.

It was grey.

But at least it wasn’t cold.

We passed the British Museum, negotiated the crowds at Covent Garden and reached the visitor-gorged Trafalgar Square. I took a couple of the ubiquitous tourist shots of the admiral on top of his column and a couple of the lions and then we went into the gallery.

It was superb. I had forgotten at how lucky as a nation we are to have this fabulous collection as testimony to man’s imagination, skill and propensity to create beauty.

One of the first artist’s work you see as you start walking around from the central gallery is Canaletto. He has to be one of my favourite painters. His draughtsmanship, use of scale and colour is superlative. You can spend hours seated in front of one of his images such as ‘The Feast day of Saint Roch’, just picking out all of the little details that Canaletto put into the image.

Canaletto - the Feast of Saint Roch
Canaletto – the Feast of Saint Roch

A painting that really caught both of our eyes is one by an artist that I didn’t know of, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, and his image of Lake Keitele from 1905. The reproduction below, doesn’t do justice to the shimmering of the light on the water and the way that the painting pulls the viewer into it.

Akseli Gallen-Kallela-  Lake Keitele
Akseli Gallen-Kallela- Lake Keitele

There is also an exhibition by the little known Norwegian painter Pedar Balke. His images of the North Cape at the strat of the 20th century, are dramatic and powerful, but he found it difficult to make a living out of his art and stopped painting commercially and only painted thereafter for himself. In later life he used his fingers and scraped his canvasses to get the affects he wanted, and even only used black paint in images that are pure monochrome. His work is now very much appreciated and sought after. The images in the exhibition were stunning and very powerful and even the tiny studies he did on boards which were as small as 10cm x 15cm had a sense of natural majesty and drama.

Peder Balke - Stetind with birch
Peder Balke – Stetind with birch

So after a tiring few hours wandering the National Gallery, we headed home. It was only once I got home that I realised that the 365 title for today was ‘Hanging’. All those paintings and I never took a shot of them – hence the title of this post.

Go figure.




One thought on “Not seeing the wood for the trees

  1. Glad you had a good day. Cannot believe you missed such an opportunity by not looking at your ‘word’ until late in the day! Still the photo you did come up with I really liked.


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