One of the National Gallery’s most celebrated paintings – Jan van Eyck’s The Amolfini Portrait – is being exhibited for the first time alongside works by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and its successors in a new exhibition exploring the influence of the 15th century masterpiece on 19th century artists. As well as van Eyck’s work, Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites features Sir John Everett Millais’ Mariana (1851), Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1848-49), William Holman Hunt’s The Awakening Conscience (1853) and William Morris’s La Belle Iseult (1858 – pictured) along with a host of other works. The exhibition provides a particular focus on one of the most distinctive features of The Amolfini Portrait – the convex mirror in which van Eyck himself is famously reflected – and, to that end, includes a convex mirror owned by Rossetti and another used by William Orpen. Other objects featured in the exhibition include early photographs, drawings and archival material surrounding the 1842 purchase of The Amolfini Portrait by the National Gallery as well as a Victorian reproduction of van Eyck’s masterwork, The Ghent Altarpiece. The exhibition in the Sunley Room opens Monday and can be seen until 2nd April. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.nationalgallery.co.uk/reflections. PICTURE: © Tate, London (N04999)

The history of opera from its roots in Renaissance Italy to the present day is being explored in a new exhibition opening at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington on Saturday. Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, a collaboration between the museum and the Royal Opera House, focuses on seven operatic premieres in seven cities – Montverdi’s L’incoronazione de Poppea (the first public opera), which premiered in Venice in 1642, Handel’s Rinaldo, which premiered in London in 1711, Mozart’s Le nozze de Figaro, which premiered in Vienna in 1786, Verdi’s Nabucco, which premiered in Milan in 1842, Wagner’s Tannhauser, which premiered in Paris in 1861, Strauss’ Salome, which premiered in Dresden in 1905, and Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, which premiered in St Petersburg in 1934.  It features more than 300 objects including Salvador Dali’s costume design for Peter Brook’s 1949 production of Salome, Edouard Monet’s painting Music in the Tuileries Gardens, the original score of Nabucco, and one of only two surviving copies of L’incoronazione de Poppea. There will also be original material from the St Petersburg premier of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk which, including the composer’s original score, stage directions, libretto, set models and costume designs, is being reunited and displayed outside Russia for the first time. World leading performances can be heard over headphones, creating what the museum says is a “fully immersive sound experience”. The exhibition is the first to be displayed in the V&A’s purpose built Sainsbury Gallery and will be accompanied by a programme of live events. Runs until 25th February. For more see www.vam.ac.uk/opera.

Fancy yourself a potter? A ceramics factory where the public can mould or cast jugs, teapots and flowers opens at the Tate Modern today in an art installation by artist Clare Twomey. Located on level five of the gallery’s Blavatnik Building, FACTORY: the seen and the unseen will launch the second year of Tate Exchange and will comprise a 30 metre work space, eight tonnes of clay, a wall of drying racks and more than 2,000 fired objects. In the first week, visitors are invited to ‘clock in’ and learn the skills of working with clay and then exchange what they have made with other objects made in a factory setting. The production line will stop in the second week and visitors invited to enter a factory soundscape and join a factory tour to discuss how communities are built by collective labour. From now until January next year, Tate Exchange: Production will feature a range of artist’s projects at both the Tate Modern and Tate Liverpool exploring the role of the museum in production from a range of viewpoints. For the full programme of events, see www.tate.org.uk/tateexchange.

Send all items for inclusion to exploringlondon@gmail.com.

Advertisements

• The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich has launched five month-long festival looking at the East India Company and the mark it’s left on London and the world. The festival, which was launched late last month as a new gallery, Traders: The East India Company and Asia, opened its doors at museum, features musical performances, film screenings, games, discussions, story-telling and debates surrounding the company and its legacy as well as ‘curry and a pint’ nights and tea parties. Also included are two days of celebrations marking Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, on 12th November, and Chinese New Year on 18th February. For more on the events and the museum, see www.nmm.ac.uk.

London Transport Museum’s Depot in Acton is holding a family open weekend this Saturday and Sunday with ‘make and take’ workshops, object handling sessions and rides on the open air miniature railway and life-sized heritage vehicles. Among those on hand to answer all your questions will be London’s Emergency Response Unit. Open between 11am and 5pm both days (last admission 4pm). An admission charge applies. To book or to find out more information, see www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/museum-depot/events.

• On Now: Atkinson Grimshaw: Painter of Moonlight. The first major show of Grimshaw’s work for more than 30 years, this exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery includes more than 60 paintings from his earliest Pre-Raphaelite inspired landscapes to the Impressionist style seascapes of his last years along with drawings, manuscripts and photographs on loan from public and private collections and descendants of the artist. Grimshaw (1836-1893) was a popular Victorian artist known for his evocative scenes of the urban environment at night and for his landscapes. Runs until 15th January (admission charge applies). There is also a special late viewing (the gallery’s first) on 21st October. For more on the exhibition, see www.guildhallartgallery.cityoflondon.gov.uk/gag/.