The Roman Imperial style of the National Gallery inspires a sense of magnificence. The same magnificence which make you seem disappointed when you enter the museum.
As everyday, the museum place, Trafalgar Square is full of people. Make my way into that treasure box, containing hundreds of the most important international paintings.
The fact that you are moving between hundreds of years of masterpiece paintings, canvases for which London is envied all over the word, is something that makes the viewer shaking inside. Add that all this is totally free and you will think this is heaven!
The full-time and free exhibition show artists from different nations, from the Flemish masterpieces of Van Dick to the Italian renaissance artists, such as Michelangelo or Caravaggio. The painting’ dates start from the 13th century and arrive to the late 18th century, so their number is amazing: portraits, landscapes, biblical and historical scenes blend perfectly with the background the are inserted in.
The portrait seems to give viewers an aura of austerity, with their perfect colour definition or precision of particular, and also the golden frame, which enclose each of them, help to share this feeling.
A particular example can be ‘The equestrian portrait of King Charles I’, which represents the English king during a battle on his horse: the vivid colours of his skin seem to shine in contrast with the poor illumination of some rooms. Also the definition in the background composition and the perfect expressed fierce look of the king makes this one my favourite painting in the exhibition.
The few illumination I mentioned can sometimes be a very problem, in fact usually are used two or three spotlight that should mix with the light from the glass barrel-vaulted ceiling to illuminate the big rooms. Very beautiful to see, but at the same time very useless, most of all during afternoon when start to darken and the visibility greatly go down.
Another disappointing structural element is the room organisation: they are arranged by a specific subject, usually a place (e.g. the Venice room), a famous painter (e.g. The Van Dick room) or both (e.g Leonardo and North Italy room). Despite of that, there isn’t a logical order into the rooms’ succession: you can find the German painter room after the one dedicated to Caravaggio for example and there isn’t neither a style connection between their paintings.
The confusion you can have is luckily overcome by the guides, whose art knowledge and politeness are second to none. They will help you to overcome every misunderstandings about the paintings details or their order arrangements.
Definitively one of the best exhibition I have ever seen: very wide time and style range of paintings, perfectly conserved, and a breath-taking atmosphere. Amazing is the only word that can explain it.