The exhibition "Botticelli to van Gogh – Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London" has opened in Shanghai, offering a look at some of Europe's most classic art work.
The exhibition, on loan from the National Gallery in London, features 52 paintings by renowned European artists, including Raphael, Titian, Caravagio, Rembrandt, Monet and Vincent van Gogh.
As a touring exhibition of the National Gallery, it will make stops across Asia, beginning with the Shanghai Museum.
Ranging from masterpieces of the Italian renaissance, through the age of the European Baroque, to highlights of British painting and early 20th-century post-impressionism, culminating in Monet's "Irises," the 52 selected works form a unique "National Gallery in miniature."
Unlike other major European museums, the National Gallery was not formed from a royal collection that later opened to the public. Located in Trafalgar Square in London, it was established by parliament for the "ennobling enjoyment" of the British people, and today is visited by millions from all over the world.
The Shanghai exhibition is divided into several sections: Botticelli and Painting in 15th Century Italy, Raphael and the Italian High Renaissance, Gossaert and the Northern Renaissance, Caravaggio and Baroque Painting in Italy and Spain, Rembrandt and 17th-century Painting in Northern Europe, Canaletto and European Painting in the 18th Century, Van Gogh and Impressionists, Turner and Painting in Britain.
One of the highlights is "Portrait of Charles William Lambton" by Thomas Lawrence and "Boy Bitten by a Lizard" by Caravaggio.
Caravaggio is known for his Baroque painting which was originally derogatory, implying irregularity and excess. He introduced a radical new style with powerfully naturalistic figures, lit dramatically and with a strong physical presence.
Undoubtedly canvases from van Gogh and Monet are the most familiar among locals. Impressionism is one of the favorite styles among art lovers. However, the term of "impressionist" was first used as an insult in response to an exhibition of their works in 1874. The movement's chief exponents – Manet, Cezanne, Renoir and Monet – incorporated visible brushstrokes of bright colors, emphasizing the effects of changing light and frequently painted unconventional subject matter drawn from modern life.
Date: Through May 7, 9am-5pm
Admission: 100 yuan/US$15 (appointment required through WeChat)
Venue: Shanghai Museum
Address: 201 People's Ave