Guildhall Art Gallery’s forthcoming exhibition brings together works from the 17th century to the present day to illustrate how London’s ever-changing cityscape has inspired visiting and resident artists over four centuries.
Architecture of London will feature 80 works by over 60 artists, drawing from the City of London Corporation’s extensive art collection to examine the rich diversity of London’s buildings and its varied portrayal by artists.
The exhibition will also feature important loans from other major British collections and a number of private collections, including masterpieces by renowned and emerging artists, such as Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach and Catherine Yass.
Visitors will see the city from a wide range of viewpoints, including artists’ windows, vast panoramas, close-ups, and street views. Arranged thematically, the exhibition begins with views of London, exploring vistas, the earliest paintings of the capital, as well as artists’ views of London.
From the panoramas of Netherlandish artists in the 1600s to those who paint the London that they experience from their own unique perspective, the capital’s architecture has provided a rich subject for artists.
Highlights include Old St. Paul’s Diptych (1616), a rare Jacobean view of London and one of the first British paintings of a historic monument, and Canaletto’s London Seen Through an Arch of Westminster Bridge (1747).
The show continues with an exploration of London’s continuous transformation - from its rebuilding in the years following the Second World War to the city’s rising skyline in the present day, with works including David Ghilchik’s Out of the Ruins at Cripplegate (1962) and Richard I. B. Walker’s London from Cromwell Tower, Barbican (1977).
The exhibition goes on to showcase the intimate and everyday portrayals of London, usually viewed through artists' windows. It will feature works of suburban landscapes by artists’ who found London’s residential streets fascinating, for example, Spencer Gore, a founding member of the Camden Town Group, and Frank Auerbach, both extensive painters of London’s streets close to their homes and studios.
Architecture of London culminates with an exploration of artists' depictions of the beautiful details that make up an architectural whole. This section will feature works that focus on the, sometimes intricate or simple, but always beautiful details of London’s buildings.
Highlights include Brendan Neiland’s Broadgate Reflections (1989), an almost abstract close-up of a building reflected in a window, as well as Simon Ling’s vibrant paintings of East London’s urban landscape near his studio.