Five free exhibitions

  • 7 November 2016

From flesh remains to stained glass heroes, we've found five enthralling exhibitions that you can see for free with your National Art Pass.

1
William Etty, Wrestlers

Flesh: Skin and Surface

Visceral, psychological and erotic, the painting of flesh has long fascinated artists. This show charts this most corporeal of matters from the Dutch Golden Age to the present day. Featuring the bloodied carcasses of a slaughtered ox to the voluptuousness of Soho siren Henrietta Moraes, muse to Francis Bacon, this exhibition celebrates artists’ relationship with the flesh and how its seductive qualities have entranced them for centuries.


2

Drawing in Red

Christ Church in Oxford is home to a celebrated collection of Old Master paintings and drawings which were donated to the college in the 1700s. Including Renaissance painters Filippino Lippi and Tintoretto and British favourite Anthony van Dyck, the works are housed in the ingenious, semi-buried picture gallery designed by the modernist architects Powell and Moya. This exhibition focuses on the 16th-century technique of drawing in red chalk to convey the impression of flesh, featuring sketches by Bandinelli and Carlo Maratti.


3

Constable in Context: Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows in Perspective

John Constable’s most famous – and most dramatic – work, is the depiction of Salisbury Cathedral set against a tumultuous grey sky crowned with a rainbow. The painting was made as a distraction from the grief he was suffering after the death of his wife Maria in 1828. Now, this sublime masterpiece returns to Salisbury for an exhibition of pictures that reflect Constable’s spiritual awakening.


4

Margaret Agnes Rope

It is hoped this exhibition of stained glass by the intrepid and unpredictable, Margaret Agnes Rope, might reignite interest in this long-forgotten Victorian whose modernist approach to stained glass is touched with genius. Born in 1882, Rope trained at the Birmingham School of Arts where her extrovert behaviour – she smoked a cheroot and drove a motorbike – scandalised 19th-century society. Ten years later she had become a nun and lived out the rest of her life in obscurity. Yet her innovative stained glass can be seen in churches all over the world, from Australia to South Africa.


5

Renaissance Prints: Mantegna, Marcantonio and Parmigianino

Some artists are natural printmaker; ceaselessly innovative and experimental. This exhibition contains three early pioneers of the medium; Renaissance artists Andrea Mantegna, Parmigianino and Marcantonio. While Mantegna is the most famous, it was the prodigiously talented Parmigianino who is held in the highest esteem. Had he not died at the age of 37, he would have been one of the most celebrated artists of the Renaissance era. This exhibition features works from the Hunterian’s exceptional collection and reveals why engraving should never be considered painting’s poor relation.


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