For good reason, The National Gallery has earned a reputation as one of the best galleries in the whole country – perhaps the world.
The gallery houses priceless works covering everything from the most refined, 19th-century masters to modern explorations of culture by cutting-edge artists. And September is no different when it comes to the eclectic, but still linked, exhibitions running at The National Gallery. And, best of all, you’re in an ideal spot to enjoy them all staying at the Montcalm Hotel Marble Arch.
With this in mind, we’ve got a rundown of what you need to see at The National Gallery right now.
Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire
Thomas Cole often receives praise as the finest American landscape painter of his time, and the ‘Eden to Empire’ exhibition makes it easy to see why. The exhibition is on until mid-October, and you shouldn’t have any problems getting there from our many 5 star hotels London.
Cole’s focus as a painter took two distinct forms: the celebration of the American wilderness and epic scenes depicting dramatic historical vistas. His work is large in scale and ambition, and you can see his very finest works at this ongoing exhibition.
The ‘Eden to Empire’ title is very apt because that’s what Cole found interesting, but it’s also what he observed over the course of the 19th century. Cole grew up in an America emerging from its colonial past and developing into a true world power, and that swing from rugged, nature-festooned culture to a modern country with global ambitions is part of what makes his work so compelling. As an artist, Cole was also intrigued by the notion of a fallen empire, often painting glorious ruins now subsumed by vines and nature.
Whatever your interpretation of his work, Cole’s landscapes are breath-taking examples of the form, and there’s a reason he’s still held in such high regard today.
Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire
Working alongside the Cole exhibition is a more modern offering, but one which explores similar themes from a more contemporary outlook. The exhibition is brilliant, and it’s worth taking the time to check out both Ruscha and Cole one after the other if you’ve got the time. And you don’t have far to go to get back to your room at the Montcalm Hotel Marble Arch afterwards.
Ed Ruscha is probably one of the most well-regarded and important American artists working today, and his eye tends to fall on the structures others don’t ordinarily see as beautiful or appealing.
For Ruscha, these buildings tell the story of modern America from its 20th century days as the global industrial powerhouse to the role the country occupies in the present day. Like Cole, Ruscha is deeply interested in the notion of living in a ‘post-empire’, somewhere where the people might have a creeping feeling that the best days are now all in the past.
The exhibition is brilliant, and it’s worth taking the time to check out both Ruscha and Cole one after the other if you’ve got the time. And you don’t have far to go to get back to your room at the Montcalm Hotel Marble Arch afterwards.