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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Masterpieces of the Wallace Collection

Fragonard, The Swing, Wallace Collection

Masterpieces of the Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection consists of nearly 5,500 objects and is reputed for its quality of eighteenth-century French paintings, Sèvres porcelain and French furniture.

The Wallace Collection also displays paintings by Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, Canaletto,  Boucher, de Hooch, Teniers, Frans Hal, Murillo, Velázquez, Domenichino, Cima, Daddi, Reni, Rosa, Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, Antoine Watteau, Nicholas Lancret, Jan Steen, Aelbert Cuyp and Guardi.

The Wallace Collection contains many other Masterpieces, including:

  • “The Laughing Cavalier” by Frans Hals
    • “The Laughing Cavalier” by Frans Hals is famous for the lively and spontaneous style of portraiture created by the Dutch Golden Age Master. The subject is in fact not laughing but has an enigmatic smile, amplified by his upturned moustache. The painting conveys a sense of jesting and swagger that is the effect of the low viewpoint together with the sitter’s upturned moustache, twinkling eyes, pointy beard, shiny nose, pink cheeks, large black hat and confident pose. The portrait is richly coloured with a flamboyant costume, of a doublet embroidered with fanciful motifs in white, gold and red thread and with a gilded rapier pommel at the crook of his elbow.
  •  “A Dance to the Music of Time” by Nicolas Poussin
    • “A Dance to the Music of Time” by Nicolas Poussin is a painting whose exact meaning is not known. One interpretation is that the picture represents the passing of time and the different stages of life. Its iconography depicts the revolving wheel of fortune: poverty, labour, wealth, and pleasure. Poussin’s paintings are based on a historical iconographic that was understood by his patrons of the 1600s. Poverty is the male figure at the very back of the circle. He dances with his back turned towards the viewer, barefoot and of low status, looking towards Labour. Labour, represented as a healthy young woman, dancing barefoot whose bare shoulders and hair cover represent hard work, she is eagerly trying to grasp Wealth’s hand. Wealth is a young woman with paler skin who dances with golden sandals and robe; she is reluctantly reaching out to Labour’s hand. Pleasure is the young woman in blue who gazes at the viewer with a smirk and a flushing face.
  • “Perseus and Andromeda” by Titian
    • “Perseus and Andromeda” by Titian dramatically depict the Greek mythological story of Andromeda. Perseus is portrayed attacking the sea monster, who turns to attack the hero, while Andromeda’s white body is contrasted against the dark undercliff and portrayed as pure innocence. In Greek mythology, Andromeda was the daughter of the Ethiopian King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia. Queen Cassiopeia was beautiful, but the vain, and hers hubris led her to boast that Andromeda is more beautiful than the sea nymphs The sea nymphs were the daughters of Poseidon, the god of the sea and when the nymphs heard of her claims, they protested to their father. In retaliated Poseidon calling up a sea monster to wreak havoc on Ethiopia placing the kingdom at risk. In response, the Queen, together with the King, decided to sacrifice her daughter, Princess Andromeda, to the monster.

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“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”
– Dutch Proverb

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Photo Credit: By Philafrenzy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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