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The Arnolfini Portrait (1434) by Jan Van Eyck (d.1441)Whilst it is the major, blockbuster exhibitions like the current Charles I, King and Collector at the Royal Academy which receive most of the public’s attention, there remains an important role for smaller, focused exhibitions like Reflections, now showing at the National Gallery.

Reflections focuses on the influence of one painting, the Arnolfini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck. Painted in 1434, the picture was acquired by the National Gallery in 1842. It was the first example in the gallery’s collection of early C15 low country painting. And as such it represented a marked contrast from the Southern European Renaissance and Mannerist painting which dominated the collection and were typically seen as the high point of the art of painting.

The Arnolfini Portrait is a very sophisticated painting, highly naturalistic in execution, And with a quality of the detailing, such as the two figures greeting the pair who can only be…

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The new exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, ‘Enchanted Dreams: The Pre-Raphaelite Art of E. R. Hughes’ is the first ever exhibition entirely focused on Hughes’s work. Though some of his paintings, especially ‘Night with her Train of Stars’ (1912), are reasonably well-known, his work tends to be overlooked. BMAG own quite a few, but many more have been assembled here from far and wide, and the exhibition draws out aspects of his work which are not always obvious from the few one usually sees. Not to be confused with Arthur Hughes (his uncle), Edward Robert Hughes was also associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, having been brought up among his uncle’s Pre-Raphaelite friends, and these associations have clear implications for his work which are evident in the exhibition. There is a good effort at providing some of this Pre-Raphaelite context in some of the other works included in the exhibition, by Arthur Hughes (‘The Long Engagement’) and Simeon Solomon (‘Bacchus’), for example. Hughes is perhaps most famous for his ‘tCanzianiwilight’ paintings, of which more later, but his earliest known work, ‘Evensong’, already indicates his interest in the effect of…

Source: Exhibition Review: Enchanted Dreams

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