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John Virtue: London Paintings (National Gallery Company, London) Hardcover – 8 Mar 2005
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John Virtue is a painter whose work rides a fine line between abstraction and figuration. He was invited to the National Gallery to become their sixth National Gallery Associate Artist because of his deep-rooted yet contemporary relationship with the great European landscape tradition that is magnificently represented in the collection. Working in the National Gallery's studio, Virtue has made a series of large-scale paintings that represent the London cityscape looking towards St Paul's and a smaller group showing Trafalgar Square from the roof of the National Gallery. Executed solely in black and white, they are monumental, epic works. London is a subject never before treated by a painter on such an ambitious scale. This book illustrates all of Virtue's London paintings and a selection of drawings. Following an introduction by Charles Saumarez Smith, Simon Schama explores the artist's place in both the context of his contemporaries and in the historical tradition of representations of the London cityscape.Paul Moorhouse examines the connection between Virtue's earlier work and the paintings and drawings he has made since taking up residence at the National Gallery, showing how his paintings and drawings have evolved and changed in response to specific landscape subjects. Finally, Colin Wiggins considers Virtue's new paintings in the context of his residency at the National Gallery, home to many of the artist's 'hero-paintings'. Published to accompany the exhibitions John Virtue: London Paintings at The National Gallery, London, from 9 March to 5 June 2005 and John Virtue: London Drawings at the Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, London, from 10 March to 5 June 2005. Both exhibitions will be on display at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, from 2 February to 23 April 2006.
About the Author
Simon Schama is Professor of History at Columbia University, New York. His books include The Embarrassment of Riches (1987), Citizens: a Chronicle of the French Revolution (1989), Landscape and Memory (1995) and Rembrandt's Eyes (1999). He wrote and presented the fifteen-part History of Britain series for BBC Television and is currently working on a new television series The Power of Art. Paul Moorhouse is a Senior Curator at Tate, London. He is the author of numerous books, exhibition catalogues and essays including the recent book, Richard Long - Walking the Line. Colin Wiggins is Deputy Head of Education at the National Gallery, London, and has contributed to numerous publications including Kitaj: in the Aura of C ezanne and other Masters (2002) and Ron Mueck (2003). Charles Saumarez Smith is Director of the National Gallery, London.
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22 September 2009
Virtue's work is, simply, stunning. This is the perfect coffee-table book for any fan of his work, and the perfect gift for anyone who loves the architecture of London. Virtue has skill and talent like no other artist, and his inked city-scapes are bewitchingly dark and like nothing I've ever seen before.