Russians: National Portrait Gallery, London

Mussorgsky by Ilia Repin, 1881. © State Tretyakov Gallery

Detail of Mussorgsky by Ilya Repin, 1881. © State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

An unprecedented cultural exchange between the National Portrait Gallery in London and the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow — marking the 160 anniversary of the foundation of both galleries — Russia and the Arts  is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see masterpieces that rarely leave Russia. Presenting celebrated portraits of key figures from a golden age of the arts in the country, it is one of the most important Russian exhibition ever to take place at a British museum. Read more

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, Paris

 

Madame Grand, 1783. Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

Detail. Madame Grand, 1783. Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

There were a small number of eighteenth century women artists that became prominent for their talent and teaching, the stylistic innovations they created, and their influence on other artists. Nowhere can this be better seen than in the life and works of the French painter Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun. Read more

Liberace on Anatomy

Battle of the Nude Men by Antonio del Pollaiuolo, 1465–1475. Engraving 42.4 x 60.9 cm

Battle of the Nude Men by Antonio del Pollaiuolo, 1465–1475. Engraving 42.4 x 60.9 cm

Italian Renaissance artists became anatomists by necessity. They were attempting to refine a more lifelike human figure, even though opportunities to help their knowledge by direct anatomical dissection were restricted. In Vasari’s Lives of the Artists, he states that the sculptor, painter, and printmaker Antonio Pollaiuolo (1431–1498) was the “first master to skin many human bodies in order to investigate the muscles and understand the nude in a more modern way.” We can see his knowledge displayed beautifully in Pollaiuolo’s engraving Battle of Naked Men. The nude warriors are in extreme action showing their nearly flayed musculature. Read more