World first for Art History News!

April 14 2011

Image of World first for Art History News!

Picture: Me

I learnt at tonight's opening of Dutch Landscapes at the Queen's Gallery that from tomorrow visitors will, for the first time, be allowed to take photographs inside the gallery of any object they like. 

I asked if I could jump the deadline - and behold, above is the first photograph legitimately taken by a member of the public inside the Queen's Gallery, and published online for your viewing pleasure. The picture is the Royal Collection's Cupid and Pysche by Van Dyck. [More below]

It may sound trivial, but I think allowing photography is a really significant decision, and I hope other galleries follow suit. It doesn't make sense to stop, say, a young visitor sending a picture message of a painting they like to all their friends, if that is the very audience galleries are trying to target. At the National Gallery, the staff practically sit on you if they think you might be about to take a photo, which can make for a rather oppressive atmosphere.  

I won't write a review of Dutch Landscapes here, but will simply say that it is exquisite, and that you should go. Desmond Shawe-Taylor, the Queen's Surveyor of Pictures, has written another exemplary catalogue, which is available for a bargain £10. Royal Collection exhibition catalogues have long been the best of their type, and this is no exception. The newly refurbished Queen's Gallery (surely one of the best small galleries in the word) also has a superbly chosen, and varied selection of treasures from the Royal Collection, which is also worth a visit.

More details of Dutch Landscapes here. Buy the catalogue here

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