The portraits of Italian Renaissance painter Lorenzo Lotto, known for their rich symbolism, have gone on show at The National Gallery. Highlights of Lorenzo Lotto Portraits include masterpieces as the Bishop Bernardo de‘ Rossi (1505) and the monumental altarpiece of The Alms of Saint Antoninus of Florence (1540–2) brought to the UK from Venice for the first time as well as the Assumption of the Virgin with Saints Anthony Abbot and Louis of Toulouse (1506), The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, with Niccolò Bonghi (1523 – pictured), the Portrait of a Young Man with a Lizard (1528–30), and the Portrait of a Man with a Felt Hat (1541?). The display, which is arranged over four rooms, also includes objects relating to the portraits including a carpet, sculpture, jewellery, clothing and books. Runs until 10th February. Admission is free. For more, see www.nationalgallery.org.ukPICTURE: Lorenzo Lotto, ‘Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine with Donor Niccolò Bonghi’, 1523, Oil on canvas, 172 x 143cm, Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, © Fondazione Accademia Carrara, Bergamo.

The first exhibition to take a detailed look at the life of Assyrian King Ashurbanipal has opened at the British Museum. I am Ashurbanipal: king of the world, king of Assyria focuses on the 7th century BC when Ashurbanipal was the most powerful person on earth, ruling a vast and diverse empire from his capital of Babylon. More than 200 objects from the museum’s collection and other collections across the world feature in the display including massive stone sculptures, carved reliefs, carved ivories and metalwork, and ornate chariot fittings and weaponry. And in a contemporary twist, the final section of the exhibition looks at the challenges faced in protecting Iraqi cultural heritage in recent times. Runs until 24th February in the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.britishmuseum.org.

A joint exhibition of works by Austrian artists Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) and Egon Schiele (1890-1918) has opened at the Royal Academy to mark the centenary of their deaths. Klimt / Schiele: Drawings from the Albertina Museum, Vienna is the first UK exhibition to focus on the fundamental importance of drawing to both artists and traces their use of the technique from their academic training days through to their later unconventional explorations of the human figure. About 100 works on paper feature in the display including studies for allegorical paintings, portraits and self-portraits, landscapes, erotic nudes and a sketchbook as well as carefully selected examples of lithographs, photographs and original publications. Runs in The Sackler Wing of Galleries until 3rd February. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.royalacademy.org.uk.

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Cheapside-Hoard-1The ‘secrets’ of the Cheapside Hoard – the world’s finest and largest collection of 16th and 17th century jewels – are revealed in a new exhibition opening tomorrow at the Museum of London. The
Cheapside-Hoard-2Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels
 publicly displays the hoard of Elizabethan and early Stuart jewellery and gemstones in its entirety for the first time since its discovery more than 100 years ago. The hoard, consisting of as many as 500 pieces including rings, necklaces, cameos, scent bottles and a unique Colombian emerald watch, was discovered buried in a cellar on Cheapside in the City of London in 1912. The exhibition uses new research and state-of-the-art technology to showcase the hoard as it explores the questions of who owned the hoard, when and why was it hidden, and why was it never reclaimed. New information revealed by the research shows that the hoard was buried between 1640 and 1666 (the critical clue was a previously overlooked intaglio – a gemstone engraved with the heraldic badge of William Howard, Viscount Stafford, who lived between 1612-1680). It also reveals Thomas Sympson was the “dodgy” jeweller responsible for two counterfeit rubies contained within the hoard (he apparently had a trade in selling counterfeit gems for as much as £8,000 each). Entry charge applies. Runs until 27th April. For more, see www.museumoflondon.org.uk.  PICTURED: Above: gold and pearl cage pendants from the Cheapside Hoard; and right: a bejewelled scent bottle.

A previously unknown painting of Queen Elizabeth I is on display as part of a new exhibition, Elizabeth I and Her People, opening at the National Portrait Gallery today. The small painting, which has been attributed to miniaturist Isaac Oliver and which is a reworking of the classical story of the Judgement of Paris, was recently acquired by the gallery. It will sit among a selection of other portraits of the “Virgin Queen” in a display which endeavours to show how during her 50 year reign she portrayed the image of a strong monarch. The portraits are just some of the 100 items featured in the exhibition which also includes costumes, coins, jewellery and crafts and examines the rise of new social classes in Elizabethan society. Other portraits in the exhibition feature images of courtiers such as William Cecil and Christopher Hatton along with images of merchants, lawyers, goldsmiths, butchers, calligraphers, playwrights and artists. There is also a little known painting of three Elizabethan children and what may be the first portrait of a guinea pig. The exhibition, supported by the Weiss Gallery, runs until 5th January. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.npg.org.uk.

Printed objects including replacement body organs, aeroplane parts and a music box have gone on display at the Science Museum in South Kensington as part of a new exhibition, 3D: printing the future. The exhibition looks at the rapidly evolving field of 3D printing and its growing impact on society through stories such as the use of 3D printing by engineers to create lighter aeroplane parts and the ways in which the medical industry is researching the use of the technology to create replacement body parts. The display will also include miniature 3D printed figures created from scans of visitors who took part in workshops during the summer holidays. This free exhibition runs in the Antenna gallery for nine months. For more, see www.sciencemuseum.org.uk.

On Now: Facing the Modern: The Portrait in Vienna 1900. On at the National Gallery, the first major UK exhibition devoted to the portrait in Vienna features iconic works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Richard Gerstl, Oskar Kokoschka and Arnold Schonberg alongside those of lesser known artists such as Bronica Koller and Isidor Kaufmann. Highlights include Klimt’s Portrait of Hermine Gallia (1904) and Portrait of a Lady in Black (about 1894), Schiele’s The Family (Self Portrait) (1918) and Nude Self Portrait by Gerstl (1908). Runs until 12th January. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.nationalgallery.org.uk.