In Paris, the Louvre is the world’s largest museum of art. It is also an historic monument and central landmark in Paris. The building is situated on the River Seine’s right bank. One of the most famous of the paintings housed inside is the Mona Lisa, which was painted by Leonardo da Vinci. The painting measures 30 x 21 inches and features an attractive young lady who does not appear to have any eyebrows. This might be explained by the fact that Leonardo took a total of 12 years painting her lips. The secret behind her smile is that the happy section is buried in a low spatial frequency pattern. This means that if you are not looking directly at the mouth of the portrait, the smile will look cheerful, whereas looking directly at it means that part of the smile seems to disappear into its background and rather give the impression of a frown. This must make the Louvre top of any art lover or critic’s list, so that this oil painting is seen in person to decide whether there is indeed a smile that exists.
In London, England’s metropolis, can be found the Tate Modern. A couple of works of art that the gallery is famed for include Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych (1962) and Nude Woman With Necklace (1968) by Pablo Picasso.
Warhol’s creation is a piece of artwork showing Marilyn Monroe and representative of the pop art culture. He repeats her same image numerous times in forming this work of art. The artwork dates to just a few months after the artist’s death. Born, Norma Jean Mortenson, Marilyn Monroe became an instantly recognisable figure the world over. The American actress, model, and singer was famous for her comedic “blonde Bombshell” characters aired on screen. She was the sex symbol of the 1950s/early 60s and pivotal in changing attitudes toward sexuality. The artwork is important in terms of women’s liberation and representative of how looks can not only change how someone is perceived by others but be used to their advantage.
Picasso’s colourfully abstract image is a depiction of this second wife, Jacqueline Roque. He would appear to have been capturing, through artwork, the turbulent marriage they shared. His subject appears both vulnerable and defiant in her posture.
Also housed here is Salvador Dalí’s surrealist piece, Mountain Lake (1938). The surrealist idea is that many planes of reality will co-exist within a single image.
Located at the Royal Albert Docks in Liverpool, the Tate, not to be confused with the Tate Modern, houses more artwork for the art lover to enjoy by experiencing it up close. As close as the galleries permit you to stand. The gallery was established in 1988 to display the artwork from the Tate Collection, hence the name. This consists of a national collection of British art which dates from the 1500 to the present. The gallery also houses modern international art.
The building’s interior is also a work of art. The foyer was redesigned in 2007 by Arca, and the café by Peter Blake. Architectural Emporium, the centrepiece, has an undulating fascia that is orange, linking it to the original colour scheme that was chosen by Stirling for the original conversion. A high-tech colour-changing wall forms the backdrop to the simplified brick architecture and is noticeably visible from across the Albert Dock.
So, with artwork everywhere, including in the design of the buildings themselves, there is much to explore for anyone interested in art. Whether it be that they study it in education, collect it as a hobby or profession, or that they simply admire it from displays created by others. We welcome new artists with the talent to add to these wonderful collections all around the world.