Indepth Arts News: |
"Family Fortunes: Painting the Family"
2001-07-11 until 2001-09-30
UK United Kingdom
FAMILY FORTUNES comes to the National Gallery after touring to Bristol
City Museum and Art Gallery, and Bolton Art Gallery. It explores changing
notions of the family over the centuries: from the archetypal family, the
Holy Family, to the modern FAMILY of three single mothers painted by Martin Maloney at the very end of the last millennium. The exhibition
features some of the Gallery's major paintings of families including, for
example, Hogarth's THE GRAHAM CHILDREN and Joshua Reynolds's painting of
Lady Cockburn with her three eldest sons.
We are invited to consider what
we mean by families, and what was meant at different times in history: in
many of these paintings the father is absent and, in some, the painting
was intended to serve as a photograph might today - a reminder, a memento,
a memory of a particular moment. In David's painting of the Vicomtesse
Vilain XIII and her daughter, the image may have been meant to surprise
and delight the Vicomte on first seeing the work, because letters from his
wife never mention the daughter's presence. Many of the paintings are
about dynasties and are specifically portraits, but others, like the
endearing group in the Le Nain painting of a woman and five children, are
more generic and show a progression of ages, with each child carefully
characterised. Loan paintings add to the Gallery's works, among them Allan
Ramsay's beautiful and tender portrait of 'Thomas, 2nd Baron Mansel of
Margam with his Blackwood Half Brothers and Sisters', from Tate Britain.
A fully-illustrated leaflet is available for £3.
Giovanni della Volta with his Wife and Family,
London, National Gallery.