I had the opportunity to go to the National Gallery yesterday and had a wander around with of of the special audioguide headphones devices. They really do make a visit to the gallery more worthwhile as the commentary is very enlightening. The tour we followed was the ‘Director’s choice’ tour but with a few diversions. I tend to find some of the religious paintings the most interesting and thought I’d post some links to some of six of these on the National Gallery website. If you click ‘image only’ below each picture you can see a larger version. They aren’t necessarily particularly Advent-related but this blog has never claimed to bide by ecclesiastical seasons.
I’m becoming a great fan of audioguides in art galleries. Particularly with older paintings there is often so much in them that the modern day untrained eye (ie mine) doesn’t pick up on until it is pointed out to them.
The paintings are under the ‘read more’ link.
Bosch – Christ Mocked (The Crowning with Thorns)
“Four torturers surround Christ, pressing towards him, while he looks out at us. Bosch’s picture emphasises the contrast between the brutality of the tormentors and the mild, suffering Christ.”
Caravaggio- The Supper at Emmaus
“The intensity of the emotions of Christ’s disciples is conveyed by their gestures and expression. The viewer too is made to feel a participant in the event.”
Honthorst – Christ before the High Priest
“The scene is focused on the burning candle in the centre of the composition, and beside it the arm and raised finger of the High Priest.”
Velazquez – Kitchen Scene with Christ in the House of Martha and Mary
“When Martha complained to Christ that while Mary sat listening to him she was left to serve the meal alone, Christ replied: ‘Mary has taken that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’ The foreground figures, in contemporary dress, may symbolise a latter-day Martha and Mary.”
Velazquez – Christ after the Flagellation contemplated by the Christian Soul
“On the right, at the bidding of the Guardian Angel, the Christian Soul, personified as a kneeling child, contemplates the suffering of Christ.”
Rembrandt – Belshazzar’s Feast
“Rembrandt shows the moment when a divine hand appeared and wrote on the wall a phrase only Daniel could decipher.“