My 12 Favourite Paintings in The National Gallery, London, United Kingdom

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     These are the paintings I only see on books. I would scuffle within my family’s encyclopedia to see as many artworks I could read. Finally, I am seeing these artworks. Here are my 12 Favourite Paintings in The National Gallery, London, United Kingdom!

 

1.) The Painter’s Daughters with a Cat, about 1760-1 by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788)

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     The painting is unfinished and the outlines of a cat are just visible in the younger girl’s lap; her sister Mary is tweaking its tail. Mary is shown here aged about nine or ten; Margaret is eight or nine.

 

2.) Mrs. Siddons (1785) by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) 

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     Sarah Siddons (1755-1831) was one of the famous actresses of her time, specialising in tragic roles. She is portrayed here as a fashionable lady, wearing an elaborately trimmed black beaver hat and caressing her fox-fur muff. Gainsborough is reported to have had difficulties painting the woman’s nose and have to exclaimed, ‘Confound the nose, there’s no end to it.’

 

3.) Whistlejacket (1762) by George Stubbs (1724-1806) 

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     The racehorse Whistlejacket was painted life-size for his owner, the second Marquess of Rockingham in celebration of the Arabian-bred stallion’s superb proportions and beautiful appearance. Rockingham’s interest in classical sculpture may have inspired this arresting and unusual presentation.

 

4.) Head of a Peasant Woman by Vincent Van Gogh 

…now with the Head of a Peasant Man

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5.) Water-lilies, Setting Sun (1907) by Claude Monet (1840-1926)

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      This view of the artist’s water-lily pond at Gverny is later than the work hanging nearby, and indeed the painting remained in the artist’s studio until only a few years before his death. It is more spatially complex, showing the inverted reflection of a weeping willow silhouetted by the setting sun, over which the water-lilies float.

 

6.) Long Grass with Butterflies (1890) by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

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      Van Gogh painted this in the gardens of the asylum at St.Remy near Arles where he noted, ‘the grass grows tall and unkempt’. Single black strokes on top of patches of bright green highlight the most untidy areas of vegetation. The unusual vista is framed by a white path and a line of trees, which are abruptly cut off from view at the top of the canvass.

 

7.) A Wheatfield, with Cypresses (1889) by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

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     Cypress trees reminded Van Gogh of  ‘Egyptian obelisks’. These dark trees were in a wheatfield close to the St. Remy mental asylum near Arles where the artist spent a year as a patient. They stand straight and tall in the middle of the wheat, and make a strong deliberate congrats with the receding horizontal bands of the yellow field, blue hills, and sky.

 

8.) Van Gogh’s Chair (1888) by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

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     A simple yellow chair stands on an earthenware floor, contrasting on an earthenware floor, contrasting with the blue door and wall. The artist’s tobacco and pipe have been place haphazardly on the chair. Behind, some sprouting onions peek out of a box. Van Gogh meant this simple composition of everyday objects to represent his directing plain-seeking character.

 

9.) Two Crabs (1889) by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

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     After his release from hospital in Arles in January 1889, Van Gogh embarked on a series of still lives, including crab studies. This painting may show the same crab upright and on its back. Parallel strokes sculpt the creature’s form on an exuberant sea-like surface.

 

10.) The Thames below Westminster (1871) by Claude Monet (1840-1926)

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     Monet travelled the London to avoid the Franco-Prussian War. The Grey hazy sky successfully evokes the fogs for which 19th-century London was notorious. Westminster Bridge and the Houses of the Parliament are shown in the background. On the right, a wooden pier projects from the newly constructed Victoria Embankment.

 

11.) The Little Country Maid (1882) by Camille Pissaro (1830-1903) 

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     The room is in Pissaro’s house in Osny, near Pontoise, where he moved in 1882. The seated child is probably his fourth son, Ludovic Rodolphe. The artist’s technique, with its colours, and shimmering brushwork, shows why he was influential on a young generation of artists in the 1880s, and why he would later prove to be open to Seurat’s pointillist painting technique.

 

12.) The Execution of Lady Jane Grey (1833) by Paul Delaroche (1797-1856) 

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        Lady Jane Grey reigned as queen for nine days in 1553 until deposed by supporters of the Catholic Queen Mary. She was beheaded at the Tower of London. The French painter Delaroche was famous for his scenes of British royalty, especially those who were doomed or dying.

 

 

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4 comments

  1. Great choices and congratulations on managing to whittle a fabulous collection down to just 12. I love Van Gogh’s crabs, though all the other pictures you chose are equally stunning and would look fabulous on my lounge walls!

  2. Interesting selection. I note you like Van Gogh a lot. I don’t think I could whittle my list down to twelve, but my first would always be Caravaggio’s “The Supper at Emmaus”.

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