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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Courtauld Gallery

Courtauld Gallery

Courtauld Gallery

The Courtauld Gallery is an art museum that houses the art collection of the Courtauld Institute of Art, a college of the University of London specializing in the study of the history of art. The Courtauld collection includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other works from medieval to modern times; it is mainly known for its French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings.

Highlights of the Courtauld Gallery

A Tour of the Courtauld Gallery

  • “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère” by Édouard Manet
    • “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère” by Édouard Manet depicts a scene in the Folies Bergère nightclub in Paris. This painting shows Manet’s commitment to Realism in its detailed portrayal of a contemporary scene even though he has experimented with perspective and points of view. The central figure of the barmaid stands before a mirror, facing the gentleman we can see in the reflection on the right. In the mirror’s reflection, we can see the world the barmaid surveys in front of her. In the mirror reflection, she seems engaged with a customer, whoever in full face, she appears protectively withdrawn and remote.

  • “The Customs Post” by Henri Rousseau
    • The Customs Post” by Henri Rousseau depicts the uniformed employees of the Paris Customs Office at an octroi or toll gate to enter Paris. The Paris Customs Office charged a tax, called l’octroi, on most goods brought into the city. A wall surrounded Paris, and everyone entered the city through one of the gates. In the late 1800s, there were 66 octroi gates into the city at the time, and about 2,000 officers were employed, Henri Rousseau was one of them. The citizens of Paris strongly disliked the octroi, but the government needed the money. The old octroi buildings can still be seen in Paris today.

  • “The Theater Box” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
    • “The Theater Box” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir also knew by its French name “La Loge,” shows a couple in their theatre box. Theatre in Paris at the time of this painting was a rapidly expanding form of entertainment and culture. The theatre was a prominent place to meet people and to be seen. Wealth and fashion were on parade. In this painting, Renoir focused upon the theatre scene as a social stage where status and relationships were on public display. Central to this painting is the blue eyes of the elegantly dressed woman. She has lowered her opera glasses, revealing herself to the audience. The gentleman is hidden by his over-sized opera glasses, focusing his gaze elsewhere.

  • “The Card Players” by Paul Cézanne
    • “The Card Players” by Paul Cézanne is one in a series of five oil paintings by the French Post-Impressionist artist painted during Cézanne’s final periods in the early 1890s. Cézanne’s famous paintings of peasant card players are considered to be amongst his most iconic and influential works. This version portrays just two card players, with one of the players smoking a clay pipe.

  • “Seated Nude” by Amedeo Modigliani
    • “Seated Nude” by Amedeo Modigliani is one of the dozens of nudes created by Modigliani in a modern style characterized by elongation of faces and figures, that echo precursors such as Titian, Goya, and Velázquez. However, Modigliani’s figures differ significantly in the level of raw sensuality they transmit. Unlike depictions of female nudes from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century, in which female nudity is couched in mythology or allegory, this series of paintings are without any such context, highlighting the painting’s eroticism. In this painting, the woman’s elongated face and highly simplified features derive Modigliani’s study of Egyptian, African, and Oceanic sculpture.

Courtauld Gallery

  • Name:                Courtauld Gallery
  • City:                    London
  • Type:                   Art Museum
  • Established:        1932
  • Location:             Somerset House, Strand, London

Explore London’s Museums and Heritage Sites

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“Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves.”
– Queen Victoria

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Photo Credit: Stephen Richards [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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