Sunday, 12 November 2017

Monochrome: Painting in Black and White - National Gallery

Hendrik Goltzius, The Great Hercules,1599
Monochrome: Painting in Black and White is at the  National Gallery until 18 February 2018.
This is a wonderful exhibition. The idea of a survey of black and white painting may not seem immediately enticing, but this is a spectacular show. With works spanning from the Middle Ages to the 21st century the variety is remarkable and includes work of jaw-dropping beauty and skill - for example Jan Van Eyck's Annunciation (1430s) in which the painted forms convincingly simulate three-dimensional stone figures; Louis-Léopold Boilly's A Girl at the Window (after 1799) which although a slightly kitsch, sentimetal picture, contains a shiny telescope that you would swear was made of metal and protuding from the picture plane. At the other extreme there is Frank Stella's spare, rigorous and beautiful, Minimalist painting, Tomlinson Court Park I (1959). Altogether there is simply so much visual pleasure to be found here.
Read reviews by Adrian Searle, Laura CummingAlastair Sooke.
Jan van Eyck, The Annunciation Diptych, c1433-5
Albrecht Dürer, Head of a Woman, 1520
Etienne Moulinneuf, (after Jean-Simeon Chardin) Back from the Market (La Pourvoyeuse), c1770
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Odalisque in Grisaille, c1824-34
Peder Balke, The Tempest, c1862
Josef Albers, Study for Homage to the Square, 1965
Frank Stella, Tomlisn Court Park I, 1959
Gerhard Richter,  Helga Matura with her Fiancé, 1966

Chuck Close, Joel, 1993