Rubens’ landscapes exhibition and The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection museum in London, in cooperation with The National Gallery, organised a temporary exhibition with two Rubens’ landscape paintings from his mature period: Rubens: Reuniting the Great Landscapes(Wallace Collection’s webpage on the exhibition).

For the first time in over two centuries, this exhibition reunited The Rainbow Landscape and A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning. Both companion paintings depict the slightly idealised landscape around Het Steen, Ruben’s countryside manor, where he retired in his later years with his young family.

A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning
The Rainbow Landscape

The countryside depicted is rich and warm, projecting an impression of abundance and happiness. I believe this was a reflection of his inner happiness, in a time where he was free to paint for his own enjoyment rather than for commission, living the good life together with his young wife and newly-born children. On the contrary, his homeland itself was going through a period of conflict and war.

The Wallace Collection is a national museum which displays the art collections brought together by the first four marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the likely illegitimate son of the 4th Marquess. These outstanding collections were bequeathed to the British nation by Lady Wallace, Sir Richard’s widow, in 1897. The museum hosts 18th century French art, many important 17th and 19th century paintings, medieval and Renaissance works of art and one of the finest collections of princely arms and armour in Britain.

We booked the entrance for the opening time and walked from home to the museum, then leisurely visited the rooms, including a nice break at their cafeteria where I enjoyed an exquisite green tea.

We started with Rubens’ exhibition, which was closing today, and then proceeded to the rooms hosting the permanent collections.

There is a lot to see, with many masterpieces and collections of various interests, as well as the house itself with many of its original interiors. We enjoyed it very much and will visit again to learn more about the artefacts.

If you happen to be in London, I warmly recommend a visit to The Wallace Collection, and a break at their cafeteria to enjoy some good food or a drink.

(disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post)

Online shopping in times of sheltering

The Object of Art. The Theory of Illusion in Eighteenth-Century France. Marian Hobson, 1982

Spending longer time at home is a mild enabler for online purchases…

I ordered some organic seeds to attempt window-sill “gardening”. Mixed salad, Italian basil and rocket salad will be planted in whatever minimal space a London flat with no balcony allows. The greens will have to compete with the few resident flowers.

I also looked at books.

As a child and teen I “devoured” books. Nowadays I hardly manage to finish reading one, which is a sad thing indeed. I suspect the rise of technology at one’s fingertips has affected my concentration levels. There are studies on how tech, allowing a constant state of alert and stimuli, might affect the capacity of the brain to concentrate and perform. Gone are the days of sweet lazy relaxing time.

So it’s not really sensible buying books… In principle, I’m a curious person with various interests, so maybe that’s the reason why I do it?

As a minor justification, I recently sold, unwillingly, a beautiful set of antique books (Old and New London, 1881). A number of books, CDs and DVDs were also rehoused through MusicMagpie (normally I would donate them, but now charity points are shut, so they were sold).

What are these new (second-hand) books?

The Object of Art. The Theory of Illusion in Eighteenth-Century France. Marian Hobson, 1982

A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment. Philipp Blom

Enlightening the world : Encyclopédie, the book that changed the course of history. Philipp Blom

I’ve become enamoured of 18th century artefacts and am collecting what I can from that era – books, minor silver and clothing. It was a period of seminal changes in Western history and I’m keen to better understand that time and way of life.

Is there an era that fascinates you?