Friday, 15 June 2012

Kelvingrove museum and art gallery

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has been on the list of places to visit for quite some time, so a couple of weeks ago, after the rush hour (it's a simple matter of economics, a leisurely breakfast and a desire to get a seat), we caught a train to Glasgow and then their dinky wee tube out to the museum. I reckon we only saw about a third of the gallery and museum when we were there, so you can expect repeat visits in the future and this is first of four blogs I have lined up from this visit, not saying you will get them all in a row mind. It really is well worth a visit if you're in Glasgow.

From the outside the building is very impressive - those Victorians certainly knew how to make a building stand out.

The building is just as impressive from the inside. We turned left into the half of the building that mainly houses the gallery, where above your head you can hardly fail to spot these floating heads by Sophie Cave.

This is Salvador Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross. The perspective of Christ on the cross is rather brilliant as he looks down on the fishermen. It's worth noting that there's no blood, crown of thorns and he's not even nailed on as in usual depictions.

It was bought for Glasgow Museums in the Early 1950s for £8200 which caused quite a stooshie at the time, even though it was less than the £12000 catalogue value. The painting was attacked in 1961 and a large tear was made - if you look carefully (you can't see it here) you can see where it has been repaired. In the long run, Glasgow museums had made a very smart move as they bought the copyright along with the painting and have made back the purchase price many times over. In 2006 it was voted Scotland's favourite painting. I would say it is probably the countries best known painting.

The Spanish government are reputed to have offered 80 million pounds for it but that offer was declined - I doubt very much that that offer is still on the table.

A big thumbs up to the museum for it's new setting - it's got a wee room all to itself now. When I was first there, it was in a corner in the corridor - not a good idea. Now if you would just send somebody up with a tin of pledge and a duster to attend to the grimy fingermarks right in the middle of it please....


There is a great big painting by Alison Watt called Riviere in the Aberdeen art gallery which I think is great. Unfortunately Aberdeen don't let you take pictures or you would have seen it long ago. I did spot this, called Phantom, by her in Kelvingrove which has just the same appeal. Couldn't you just fall in there?

This rather scary creature is Mary Pownall's 1902 portray of The Harpy Celaeno.


Thank goodness for a friendly face after that.

You can never have too much Burne-Jones in a blog. This on is Danae.

Aren't his irises in the picture just cracking.

I wonder if the Glaswegians know that this Edinburgh chap is hanging about on their balcony.

He is, of course, Robert Louis Stevenson, writer of Treasure Island, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Kidnapped and a whole shelf of other goodies.

The Marraige of Convenience by William Quiller Orchardson. The gallery have displayed this with little thought bubbles at the side to make you think what the characters might be thinking to themselves.

In Two Strings to Her Bow by John Pettie, there is perhaps less doubt about what the characters are thinking. The cat who got the cream has nothing on this young lady - it'll end in tears I'm sure.

Ah, here's Robert Burns, this time turning on the charm with Highland Mary - that'll end in tears too. This one is painted by one of our local Galloway lads, Thomas Faed.

This rather magnificent chap is the the Gaul by Francois Rude. It is a version of a heroic fighter he carved that appears on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

On the stairs on the way out we saw the next two paintings. This lovely painting is reading Aloud by Albert Moore.

This is Millais's, The Ornithologist. The old fellow is John Gould, a famous Victorian...well..ornithologist. Interestingly, Millais often used his own children in paintings. The two small boys are William and George, his grandsons, and the girl in the brown dress at the front pops up time and again in his pictures


Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

I am a fan of Dali and was unaware of that image. It was a discovery for me. Thanks for that. All of the art is wonderful and I look forward to the upcoming tours you have planned.

The Glebe Blog said...

Robert Louis Stevenson looks a lot like my dad did, he's nearly his double.
I'll have to get my ancestry checked out.

Nice post Sandy

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Thanks for the introductory tour. If I'm ever in Glasgow.....

Sandy's witterings said...

John (from out west), I like Dali too, but mainly when he leaves the drippy clocks and elephants on stilts well alone.

Jim, Now that would be an impressive connection - I'm reading the Lighthouse Stevensons at the moment - RLS's family were just as talented as himself, just a little less famous.

John (from down south) - If you're ever anywhere on the west coast of's good to have somewhere to go that's under a roof!

Ellie said...

It is a stunning building isn't it. I haven't been there is years - I think a visit would be in order now.
It makes all the difference when they let you take pictures doesn't it.
Some lovely pieces there. Thanks for reminding me about it, I'll need to pay a visit soon.

Sandy's witterings said...

Ellie, I was there a couple of years ago too, shortly after it reopened. I walked out to it a couple of years before that and found it closed for renovation for a couple of years - I had missed it by one day! - so have no comparison to how it was before.

Shundo said...

Nice to catch up with this Sandy, and thanks for your comment the other day - I am back in line with the local time again. I have to say that the two young men in 'Two Strings to Her Bow' look fey enough that they might prefer to ditch the young lady and hang out with each other...

scott davidson said...

I had fun choosing this particular painting online that now hangs in my downtown office, from, who sells canvas prints of art masterpieces. While the original is treasured in some art museum in England, my print, of this painting by Edward Burne-Jones is very much appreciated by my staff and clients. The print quality is really excellent.