National Gallery Visit

3rd November: National Gallery 

There are three paintings that appealed to me when looking for all of the paintings we needed too; these three were ‘The Hay Wain’ 1821 by John Constable 1776-1837, ‘Rain, Steam and Speed- The Great Western Railway’ 1844 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 and finally, ‘Dido Building Carthage, or The Rise of the Carthaginian Empire’ 1815 also by Joseph Mallord William Turner.

Something that appealed to me with these paintings was that they all had one specific element in common, this was that they were all landscape paintings which I liked. They all use the element of light within their photos however, are not the same in each one. The two paintings by Turner are quite similar in their use of light; ‘The Great Western Railway’ painting demonstrates Turner’s ability to capture the atmospheric effects in paint form.

I’m not really a big fan of old portrait paintings so I would say that the rest of the paintings didn’t really appeal to me in a way that the first three did. Even though the colours used in the portrait paintings are quite neutral in most of them and I quite like that about them but other than that the portrait paintings did not really appeal to me that much.

Photographers can also control most if not all of the elements when planning and taking their photographs; as photographers we can control how much light is being directed onto the subject that we are photographing and we can control how much light we have on the subject by turning the light exposure up or down if using professional lighting equipment. When planning our shoots we carefully think about our lighting resources and how we can use them affectively so that we get the best out of them as we can to enhance our photos. Before shoots we are advised to make lighting diagrams to show where all the lights, backgrounds and models are going to go so that, as a photographer, we can use this as an initial platform when we get into a studio or space where we are taking these photos. These can then be changed slightly if the amount of light isn’t as we’d hoped it would be in the first place; we can also add or take away lights if the isn’t enough or these is too much and is not needed.

Although the majority of the paintings in the gallery weren’t to my taste I would have to say that my favourite one would have to be the painting by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851); the painting was called ‘Dido building Carthage, or The Rise of the Carthaginian Empire, 1815’. The painting is about Dido, who was the queen and founder of Carthage, who is positioned on the left of the painting. She is surveying the classical architecture of her as yet uncompleted city. This particular painting is actually one of Turner’s most ambitious imitations of the 17th century French painter Claude. This would have to be my favourite out of them all as I like the painters use of lighting within the image; the painter has used this light from the sun and you can see that this has been reflected into the water in the bottom half of the of the painting. This use of light has also highlighted certain areas of the architecture as these areas are actually quite dark. I like how he has created the sun in the middle of the painting and then has been surrounded by yellow and blue tones mixed in with some white to create this sort of sky.


Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)

I decided to research some more of this artists work and found these four paintings also done by Turner; in all of his works he incorporates and thinks about the lighting and the time of day that they have been painted in which really enhances the painting itself. With these four paintings you can see that in three of them he has used lots of different blue tones to create the sky as well as greys and whites to create a contrast in them creating the clouds. In the bottom left hand painting it has been painted at a different time of day, possibly sunset or sunrise so has used quite yellow and orange tones.


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