If you’re planning to make the trip to London to watch the 2012 Olympic Games, you should definitely give yourself the opportunity to take in some of the other attractions the city has to offer. Not least of these attractions is the enormous amount of priceless artworks in the city. Pieces on display come from all over the world and showcase works done by some the greatest artists Western Civilisation has ever produced. Indeed, it would be sacrilegious for a South Africa to visit London without at least visiting some of the city’s more famous galleries.
The following article is a brief survey of some of the artworks and galleries a tourist should consider when in London. It should be underscored that a trip to London that omits the art the city has to offer is a trip that has omitted some of history’s greatest productions.
In addition to the rich architectural fabric of the city that includes Big Ben and The Tower of London, are numerous galleries that all house quality artworks.
The following list offers an outline of some of the more notable and rewarding galleries in the city:
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery first opened its doors in the mid nineteenth century and has on display portraits of some of Britain’s most famous figures:
- Margaret Thatcher
- Germaine Greer
- Horatio Nelson
The National Gallery
The National Gallery houses pivotal and masterly works by a variety of worthy artists whose works have survived centuries. These paintings include:
- The Ambassadors
- A Woman Bathing In a Stream
- Virgin and Child with St Anne and John the Baptist
- Rokeby Venus
The total scope of the works housed in The National Gallery date from 1260 AD to the early 1900s.
Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace
The Royal Collection, as would be expected of one of the wealthiest nations on earth, includes famous works by artists like Vermeer and the Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci.
The gallery was extended in the recent past, and as a consequence, the number of works on display has increased. The incredible jewels on display are of particular interest and the restored antique furniture will be a delight for designers, historians writers and editing services alike.
The Serpentine Gallery
If contemporary is more your cup of tea, you should definitely take the time to visit the popular Serpentine Gallery. It is located near Kensington Gardens which makes it accessible.
The Tate Modern
The Tate Modern is a relatively new gallery (as far as galleries go) and specialises in displaying Modern Art produced from the turn of the 20th Century until the present day. The gallery is situated on the south bank of the Thames.
The Tate Britain
Most commentators argue that the Tate Britain, simply put, has the best and most representative collection of British art in the world. To boot, the gallery offers free guided tours every day of the week and free films are regularly screened. The Tate Britain has the following paintings on display (just to name a select few):
- Sancta Lilias
- Flatford Mill
- Norham Castle, Sunrise
- Elohim Creating Adam
- Pink And Green Sleepers
The above galleries represent a considered selection of a few personal favourites, and whereas all are worth a visit, this brief overview will hopefully give you an indication of which galleries would best suit your cultural palette. Additional galleries in the city of London include:
The Dulwich Picture Gallery
The Royal Academy