One day with the VIP’s of London

A very exciting week lies behind us. We were out taking selfies with the Windsor’s at the National Portrait Gallery, we were continuing our cat trail and were amazed by the Surrealists at the Tate Modern.

With all these impressions we thought we will start poetic into the new week. Can you guess with which famous person we started our hunt for famous Londoners?

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

No, we did not turn our focus on bigger felines. Are the bells ringing? Yes, we have been visiting William Blake, known not just for one of his most famous poem “The Tyger”. And where else would we find him than at the National Portrait Gallery, London?

William Blake by Thomas Phillips oil on canvas, 1807 On display in Room 18 at the National Portrait Gallery NPG 212

William Blake by Thomas Phillips
oil on canvas, 1807
On display in Room 18 at the National Portrait Gallery

He is sharing Room Number 18 with another rather famous literary person. (Who he looks rather scared at) Can you guess by the quote below?

“The world to me was a secret, which I desired to discover; to her it was a vacancy, which she sought to people with imaginations of her own.”

Not quiet? Maybe something more obvious?

“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”

Of course we are talking about Mary Shelley and her novel Frankenstein.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley by Richard Rothwell oil on canvas, exhibited 1840

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
by Richard Rothwell
oil on canvas, exhibited 1840

And because the best things come in threes: Who am I to forget THE most famous writer of the UK? I’ll make it easy this time to avoid any reminiscing of past school days.

“To be, or not to be, that is the question.”

Yes, Shakespeare is part of our personal ArtGuru collection. Maybe he is asking that questions about himself too.By the way, the snazzy golden earring he is wearing is a status symbol (different to what we might think today). It was also used to blog the entry holes of the body from the evil spirits.

 

associated with John Taylor oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1600-1610

associated with John Taylor
oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1600-1610

After all this literature we felt like something more down to earth. So we went for someone who took us the fear of being in a plane during a thunderstorm. (I can only speak for myself here). Michael Faraday. Born in the now London Borough of Southwark, Faraday went on to become one of the most regarded scientists in his field.

Michael Faraday by Thomas Phillips oil on canvas, 1841-1842

Michael Faraday
by Thomas Phillips
oil on canvas, 1841-1842

Faraday’s portrait is hanging right next to another scientist. The Scottish chemist Thomas Graham, who died in London in 1869. He was the founder of the Chemical Society in London and the one who discovered dialysis.

Thomas Graham by Wilhelm Trautschold oil on canvas, 1850-1875

Thomas Graham by Wilhelm Trautschold
oil on canvas, 1850-1875

 

 

Our last stop before heading out into the London fog are the leaders of the country. On the 24th of January it was his 50th anniversary of his death. To follow the route of this blog I have seem to have taken, here is a quote:

“I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.”

It is not this guy from last weekend who thought he was very funny. It is: Winston Churchill.

Winston Churchill by Walter Richard Sickert oil on canvas, 1927

Winston Churchill by Walter Richard Sickert
oil on canvas, 1927

And to round it all up our selection of the weird and wonderful of the London population, who could I not miss out after my selfie last week?

You are right: The Royal Family. We selected two paintings by the artists Bryan Organ and one all time classic by Oswald Birley.

Prince Charles by Bryan Organ acrylic on canvas, 1980

Prince Charles by Bryan Organ
acrylic on canvas, 1980

Diana, Princess of Wales by Bryan Organ acrylic on canvas, 1981

Diana, Princess of Wales by Bryan Organ
acrylic on canvas, 1981

King George V by Sir Oswald Birley oil on canvas, circa 1933

King George V by Sir Oswald Birley
oil on canvas, circa 1933

 

But there are certainly more out there. We could not add anymore. After all this collecting our gallery looks like that:

IMG_0221

 

And there will be many more. Maybe you can guess who we will be featuring next week.

Let us know who you found and share it with us either via our Twitter account (@artguruapp) or follow us on Facebook.

If you have any recommendations of what you would like to see next, write us.

 

 

Feline Good – A Day with Cats

We are fighting  the winter freeze by heading out into cold London on the hunt for cats. Cats? Yes, we are not kitten you. No, we did not lose focus from working on ArtGuru. We also didn’t get lonely in the process, looking for homeless cats in the streets of East London.  We went out to the Tate Britain and The National Gallery looking for felines eternalised in paintings. And it was claw-some. I will also stop with the cat puns from here. Fur-real.

Whoever thought that cat pictures were an invention by internet geeks in the 21st century having nothing better to do than filming their cats 24/7, were wrong.  Cats in pictures have a long tradition, going far beyond I can haz cheezburger. Already in the 19th century Hamerton writes in his book Chapters about animals: “It is odd that, notwithstanding the extreme beauty of cats, their elegance of motion, the variety and intensity of their colour, they should be so little painted by considerable artists.”  Carl van Vechten  even argues in his essay that cats are just too difficult to paint. So we decided that we focus on the cat in painting, giving it the attention it fully deserves. Let’s start with the failed attempt by Thomas Gainsborough, known to draw his daughters in various animal chasing scenarious (see: The Painter’s Daughters Chasing a Butterfly). I can however only assume that he tried to draw a cat, as I can see a rather close resemblance to a snow leopard. Nothing you really want to have your daughters in a room with.

The Painter's Daughters by Thomas Gainsborugh at The National Gallery London

The Painter’s Daughters by Thomas Gainsborough, on display at The National Gallery, London

Is van Vechten right? Are cats just too hard to draw? We didn’t think so. And we went our way, visiting both the Tate Britain and the National Gallery in central London. And we were successful.

The paintings we ranging from the typical “cat rather eats other housepet, preferable with feathers, than looking cute” or “Here I am, sitting on a lonely woman’s lap, creating a cliché for the next two centuries” We could discuss any psychological reasoning behind why the girl is trying to strangle the cat, seeing as it is a picture by Lucian Freud, the grandson of Sigmund Freund, but for the sake of all our sanity we decided against it.

Colonel Blair with his Family and an Indian Ayah by Johan Zoffany, on display at the Tate Britain, London

Colonel Blair with his Family and an Indian Ayah by Johan Zoffany, on display at the Tate Britain, London

 

Lucian Freud - Girl with Kitten, displayed at the Tate Britain

Lucian Freud – Girl with Kitten, on display at the Tate Britain, London

And never fear, we also found the typical “I am too good for this picture”- cat.

Mr. and Mrs Clark and Percy by David Hockney, displayed at the Tate Britain, London

Mr. and Mrs Clark and Percy by David Hockney, on display at the Tate Britain, London

And a shout goes out for all the cats who have ruined that one moment, here depicted by William Holman Hunt . He has used the cat to describe the wasted life of the woman, sitting unmarried on the lap of her lover, while the cat plays with a feathered bird. I am however not quiet sure what the cat has to do with the wasted life. I am more concerned about the carpet-wallpaper combination, but oh well…

The Awakening of the Conscience by William Holmant Hunt, on display at the Tate Britain, London

The Awakening of the Conscience by William Holmant Hunt, on display at the Tate Britain, London

A Cat close up

A Cat close up

We could interpret all kind of things into that picture but the point of this weeks entry actually is:

You can ignore the main story of the picture. ArtGuru can even recognise the painting if you scan only a small cutout. Theoretically you could fill your personal gallery with as many cat pictures as you like, without having the whole Graham family by Hogarth filling up any space.

 

The Graham Children by William Hogarth, on display at the Tate Britain, London.

The Graham Children by William Hogarth, on display at the Tate Britain, London.

Once ArtGuru is available all over the UK you can collect as many as 118 pictures with cats involved. You can share your favourite cat painting with us when using ArtGuru in London. Just tag us on Twitter or add it to our wall on Facebook.

Pawsome.

And as promised last week: The iPod feedback. During the last two weeks we have tested ArtGuru with an iPod, running iOS8. We thought that it might restrict us in the choice of museums we could go to as we have to rely on Wifi, but surprisingly, all featured museums offer free Wifi to use. If you have an iPod with iOS7 or higher, you can give it a try yourself and let us know how it works for you. We are currently compiling a list of all museums in London with free Wifi. So if you know of one that needs adding, write us either by commenting on here, or on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Woman with a cat by Edouard Manet, on display at the National Gallery, London

Woman with a cat by Edouard Manet, on display at the National Gallery, London

Until next week, where we’ll be looking at famous Londoners you can collect in your personal ArtGuru gallery.

 

Entering the Surreal – Discovering Dalí

As you may have seen it on Twitter, we have finally left the National Gallery. We had a great time. But nevertheless, it was time to move on.  And boy, we went far, not only in London mileage but also in the art-time-dimension.  While we enjoyed the Impressionists it was time to go hunting for something more surreal. And we have found in the Tate Modern on the other side of the Thames. After nearly losing our way in the escalator maze we found Salvador Dalí and his painting Mountain Lake.

© Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2014

© Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2014

Like many of Dalí’s painting it is not what it seems at first. The lake itself can be seen as a fish. Questions arise by the disconnected phone, associated by some with the German annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938. But also personal emotions played a role, as Dalí’s parents have visited the lake before he was born. Soon we are fascinated by this painting transporting us into a world so strange and far away from our own but still being able to tell a story we all seem to connect with.

We are lucky enough to snap a picture of it as well as scanning it in with ArtGuru. It gives us the possibility to take Dalí’s story with us as well as sharing it with people who might not be able to come to the Tate Modern anytime soon.

screenshot dali

And if there any more special Surrealists exhibition, you will know. Not from the app just yet, but by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

We have also tried the beta version of the app on an IPod with iOS8. Feedback on this will be available on the next blog. So if you don’t have an IPhone but an IPod or IPad this might be interesting for you. We will also tell you which museums in London do have a working Wifi-connection.

The next weeks will get exiting for ArtGuru. We go hunting for new artworks and paintings in London as well as introducing you to new ways to look at art with ArtGuru. Get to know your capital and its art in a totally new way. So stay tuned. We’ll be back.

 

IMG_0017

Impressing Impressionist Artist – Claude Monet

Came here through Twitter? Followed our latest tweets? Yes? Than you might know where we have been this week. For anyone else: We did not wander far. We barely made it three rooms from our last blog entry but it could not be much more different than Peter Paul Rubens. This week we are with the Impressionists, and to be more precise, with Monet. Since September the National Gallery is exhibiting new work from Monet, from his famous “Water Lilly Pond” to “Flood Waters”

We went for one of his more famous works: The Water-Lily Pond, to test the new beta-version of ArtGuru. And the result was astounding. Monet, different to Rubens, is known for his plein-air painting style, capturing nature in its true colours. And even though his pictures are drawn with a wider brush style, ArtGuru was able to recognise the painting immediately. We quickly added The Water-Lily Pond to our personal gallery, ready to share it with you.

IMG_2010

If you want to test out ArtGuru for yourself on a Monet and are in London next March, then be sure to visit the National Gallery, as they will be holding a major Monet exhibition in 2015.

WIN_20141217_121414

And if you want to see more works from the Impressionists movement, ArtGuru is soon able to remind you that the National Gallery is planning a major exhibition about the Impressionist movement in May 2015. There is a lot to look forward to this year.

If you are in London this year, make sure you visit the National Gallery. And if you have an IPhone, IPod or IPad with iOS7 or higher than send us an email to info@artguru.me and you could be our next beta-tester, exploring the art world of London your way.

 

I hope you had a good start into the New Year. The team of ArtGuru wishes you all the best for 2015.

 

WIN_20141217_121009