Discovering the National Gallery

Discovering the National Gallery

Personal exhibition, London

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“Discovering the National Gallery”, oil on canvas.
Size of each painting: 76×102 cm; size in panoramic arrangement: 535×102 cm

The National Gallery fine art collection has inspired Natalie Richy to create a series of paintings named “Discovering the National Gallery”. Natalie intention was to present a new point of view and her individual interpretation of the National Gallery paintings.

This series consists of seven separate paintings that form one panoramic composition.

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There are 17 figures, and with the exception of a self-portrait, all figures are closely correlated with various figurative paintings displayed in the National Gallery, London.

Here’s what Natalie Richy says about this artwork creation:

“Everything started with my huge admiration of the collection at the National Gallery in London that literarily become my ‘second home’. I started with making multiple sketches in the Gallery and later on to become a part of my series. The rough draft of the composition was constantly improved and worked on before I started to paint. Arranging different paintings, ranging from the 15th to 19th centuries, in one composition was quite a challenge. All paintings in this polyptych have unified style and colour palette; the common conceptual meaning unites all paintings into one artwork.”

A traditional multi-layer oil painting technique was used; artwork is done on a brown background and finished with glazing layers. The artist intentionally would like to keep an interpretation of the series undisclosed and unexplained, giving the opportunity for every viewer to interpret the meaning of this artwork. Each part of the series has its own name, the central part is titled “I am You”, the last one – “Art is the only Immortality”…

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Text by Ann White:

This September Natalie Richy will present her new exhibition “Discovering the National Gallery“. This personal show is inspired by 33 paintings carefully selected from a luminary collection of the National Gallery. The result of contemplation and in-depth studies of these paintings created between 15th and 19th centuries is presented in a monumental composition that reflects on classical symbolic language used by the Old Masters enriched with personal interpretation in order to unveil the mystery of the story behind the shapes and figures from the canvas.

A previous exhibition by Natalie Richy “Secrets of Female Sensuality” presented the dream-like and yet real world of female senses and in terms of the theme explored it could be juxtaposed to the upcoming show “Discovering the National Gallery“. This time the task is more challenging. Natalie presents a rich and dynamic composition that is based on already existing works, for ex. ranging from Portrait of a Musician (about 1565) by Bernardino Campi to Portrait of a Lady (Madame de Gléon?, about 1760, French). Regardless of the differences in period, style and origin of the works involved, artists’ choice and interpretation make the composition symbolically unified. The challenge given to the viewer is the ability to interpret the work.

The awareness and knowledge of the paintings used for the composition would significantly enrich the contemplative experience. The work of Natalie Richy captivates with its figurative style and honest painterly experience.

The authenticity comes from the fleeting sensation of artist’s thought, while the painterly image clearly engages the beholder in conversation about the hidden message.

Natalie Richy is one of those rare artists working in a classical figurative style. Perhaps everyone who is passionate about contemporary art scene has noticed the domination of conceptualism and abstraction. And still this does not exclude the opportunity to develop the classic tradition in the 21st century. Natalie’s work proves that classical oil painting is an ever evolving and fascinating means of artistic expression that is yet to be revived.