Trip to The National Gallery

Year 9, together with the sixth form artists and art historians visited the National Gallery today to look at the work of Vorticist David Bomberg. The focus was how his modernist reality was influenced by the Old Masters of the Renaissance... Not a logical connection when one considers his Mud Bath of 1914. In the wake of the First World War, his work lost the excitement of the Vorticist zeal as proposed by T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis in the Blast! Issues of 1914 and 1915. The angular geometry and simplified forms gave way to a complex, expressive and fragmented style, both more sophisticated and subdued than his early brash dynamism. Yet it is these early works that we recognise as great for their simplicity, energy and daring.

The girls selected works of interest from the Bomberg and Modernism rooms, which they sketched and wrote about.  Below are reviews from our sixth form girls. 

‘Today, we went to the National Gallery and it was really interesting. The sixth formers were given tasks to complete in the 19th and 20th century rooms as well as the gallery space dedicated to Bomberg. In the 19th and 20th century rooms we had to choose a work, do a visual analysis on it and a sketch to give an idea of what it looked like. I found this useful because I chose a work by Cézanne, which I had not seen before, and it helped me understand his technique in his earlier works and how it differs from the later works that I am studying by him.  In the Bomberg room, the sixth form had to choose 2 works to compare and think about how the old (Renaissance and Baroque) and contemporary (Cubist) masters would have influenced him. Even though I had not studied Bomberg yet, I instantly found some influences from Picasso in a few of his works.  I found the trip was very helpful and informative in seeing the works up close and understanding the techniques of the artists.' 

'The techniques in the brushwork in the 19th century rooms were really interesting to study. The effect of differing techniques changed our emotional response.' 

'I loved the painting of the Ambassadors - the optical illusion of the skull was striking - it made the meaning and transience of life, even for those with status, more poignant.'

'The drama of the 19th Century room was wonderful, especially the Execution of Lady Jane Grey - it was so dramatic, both in scale and magnitude of event.'

'Bomberg's use of colour and precision in his geometric forms, showing differing figures was interesting in creating both emotion and drama; equally the value of seeing the works up close instead of in books meant seeing a reality of mastery rather than merely a printed copy.'