I initially planned on visiting Speaker's Corner today near Marble Arch and, when I arrived only one speak was there. Due to this, I had a little bit of a wander and stumbled across The Wallace Collection. I have never visited this gallery and, upon walking into the front door, it was clear that the art housed within the building was 18th Century, with Art dating further back...
To think such a stunning gallery existed and I never knew! I am going to write a couple of notes on three pictures which I specifically enjoyed and are housed in this stunning building.
Fragonard's The Swing (1767) - A tour discussed this picture and the information was simply fascinating. The painting is deemed a boudoir painting. It depicts a woman on a swing, the light emerging from ... the centre. Notice the vicar pulling the swing and the man on the bottom left looking directly up the girls dress. Even cupid puts his finger to his lips - we are see something saucy! It also firmly depicts an example of painting during the Rococo period as the painting has a strong use of nature and is completely unsymmetrical in the composition. I love the painting, and the fact that it is 'dirty' makes it that much more appealing.
Titian's Perseus and Andromeda (1554-1556) - This painting, for a long time, was not attributed to Titian and hung in the bathroom of the Wallace household. The taps resided beneath the very centre of the painting so you can imagine the damage the steam from the use of those taps had on the painting. Tragically, when it was accurately attributed to Titian, the damage was already too much and it has not been adjusted. Due to this you can see how the painting was not executed as successfully - the left-arm of the falling Perseus you can clearly see has changed its place and there are many other alterations which were made during the execution of the painting. Not Titian's finest, granted, but definaetly an interesting back-story with a nice example of Titian's accuracy in depicting flesh.
Frans Hals' The Laughing Cavalier (1624) - Unfortunately, not much information given on this painting. A brilliant portrait, it clearly provides a great contrast between pattern and texture as the 'Cavalier' wears expensive, decorative robes. His slight-smile even recalls the smile of the Mona Lisa.
For posts on Modern Art, I have written posts on exhibitions at The Saatchi gallery (The Shape of Things To Come and British Art Now) and on Christian Marclay's The Clock