GOLD: Christmas At The National Gallery – Framing Gold

To mark the month of December, ChasingART traveled virtually to The National Gallery to view Stories of Gold. This marvelous collection of videos came out in 2017 to celebrate this special time of year.

The third video answers the question:  How frames add beauty to an artwork?


Sebastiano del Piombo incorporating designs by Michelangelo The Raising of Lazarus 1517-19 Oil on canvas, transferred from wood, 381 x 289.6 cm Bought, 1824 NG1 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG1

Gilding a frame is an art form. It is a time-honored technique used by the National Gallery, and one that requires careful preparation and patience. The National Gallery has a framing department that works tirelessly to find the perfect frame for the artwork. The frames are restored and repaired using the same techniques as 500 years ago.  There are strict protocols for the care and maintenance of the frames.

Lorenzo Veneziano The Madonna of Humility with Saints Mark and John about 1366-70 Egg tempera on poplar, 31.3 x 57.5 cm Presented by Henry Wagner, 1924 NG3897 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG3897

Join me for a fascinating tour of the workings of The National Gallery framing department.


Italian, Florentine The Virgin and Child with Saints probably 1450-1500 Tempera on wood, 69.9 x 69.9 cm Bought, 1885 NG1199 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG1199
GOLD Christmas at the National Gallery

GOLD: Christmas at the National Gallery – Dressed in Gold

To mark the month of December, ChasingART traveled virtually to The National Gallery to view Stories of Gold. This marvelous collection of videos came out in 2017 to celebrate this special time of year.

The second video answers the question:  How do artists embrace gold in fashion?


Giovanni Bellini Doge Leonardo Loredan about 1501-2 Oil on poplar, 61.4 × 44.5 cm Bought, 1844 NG189 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG189

Gold has been used in art for centuries.  This precious metal has been a fashion statement across numerous cultures. From the Renaissance to the Baroque period, and even up to the 19th century, gold was used to make art and to showcase wealth, power, and beauty.

Anthony van Dyck St Ambrose barring Theodosius from Milan Cathedral about 1619-20 Oil on canvas, 149 x 113.2 cm Bought, 1824 NG50 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG50

In the 17th century, Rembrandt and Anthony van Dyck featured gold in many of their works, as did Giovanni Bellini in the 15th century. Gold was used to draw attention to certain elements, like the robes of figures in religious scenes and the drapery of imperial portraits. Gold was also used to add a sense of grandeur and opulence to the pieces.

Rembrandt Belshazzar’s Feast about 1636-8 Oil on canvas, 167.6 x 209.2 cm Bought with a contribution from the Art Fund, 1964 NG6350 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG6350

The use of gold in art wasn’t just a fashion statement – it reflected the artist’s skill and craftsmanship



Gold leaf, paint, and even furniture was used to make pieces eye-catching and to convey a sense of luxury. But the use of gold in art wasn’t just a fashion statement – it reflected the artist’s skill and craftsmanship. The artist’s ability to manipulate and control the gold was a sign of their mastery. Thus, the use of gold in art is a testament to the artist’s skill and an expression of their creativity. It is a symbol of beauty and elegance that will forever be associated with the history of art.

Thank you for joining me at The National Gallery

GOLD Christmas at the National Gallery

GOLD: Christmas at the National Gallery – Stories of Gold

Winter has arrived in Vancouver, with the announcement of a snowfall warning that promises more will come.  Christmas lights have appeared in neighbouring buildings, their brightness muted by the white flurries.  Even so, they remind me that we have entered the festive season of December, a month that brings us many celebrations.

Please join me at the National Gallery, London.

To mark the month of December, ChasingART will travel virtually to The National Gallery to view Stories of Gold. This marvelous collection of videos came out in 2017 to celebrate this special time of year.

This first video answers the question:  How do artists convey stories of gold? 


Vincenzo Foppa The Adoration of the Kings perhaps about 1500 Oil on poplar, 238.8 x 210.8 cm Bought, 1863 NG729 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG729

Throughout history, gold has been celebrated in paintings as a symbol of wealth, power, and the divine. The National Gallery in London contains some of the world’s greatest works of art featuring gold – from Renaissance masterpieces to modern-day gems. At Christmas time, the Gallery is transformed by a shimmering array of gold artwork, making it a must-see destination. The Gallery’s collection includes some of the most iconic pieces featuring gold, such as The Adoration of the Kings by Vincenzo Foppa (1475), The Charity of St Nicholas of Bari by Girolamo Macchietti (around 1500) and The Adoration of the Kings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1564). These works of art capture the beauty and glitter of gold in a dramatic and captivating way. The use of gold in paintings is powerful in conveying a sense of joy, festivity, and celebration.

Thank you for joining me at The National Gallery!

Girolamo Macchietti The Charity of St Nicholas of Bari about 1555-60 Oil on wood, 75 x 112 cm Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the National Gallery, 2007 NG6606 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG6606
Pieter Bruegel the Elder The Adoration of the Kings 1564 Oil on oak, 112.1 × 83.9 cm Bought with contributions from the Art Fund and Arthur Serena through the Art Fund, 1920 NG3556 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG3556
GOLD Christmas at the National Gallery

We Love Vermeer

Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum

February 10 – June 4, 2023, The Rijksmuseum has promised the largest Johannes Vermeer exhibition, entitled Vermeer. The magnitude of this exhibition is envisioned in the research projects leading up to the February 2023 opening.  In the weeks ahead, ChasingART will travel virtually to The Rijksmuseum to find the stories behinds the paintings.

The Love Letter, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1669 – c. 1670

oil on canvas, h 44cm × w 38.5cm 

“Vermeer chose a remarkable point of view for this painting. A glimpse of a room with a domestic scene can be seen from a dimly lit room. A richly dressed woman expectantly receives a letter from a maid. The subject of the letter may be apparent from the seascape behind them. In the 17th century, the sea was often compared to love, and the lover to a ship.” Rijksmuseum



View of Houses in Delft, Known as ‘The Little Street’, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1658

oil on canvas, h 54.3cm × w 44cm × d 9cm

View of Houses in Delft, Known as ‘The Little Street’, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1658

“This is an unusual painting in Vermeer’s oeuvre, and remarkable for its time as a portrait of ordinary houses. The composition is as exciting as it is balanced. The old walls with their bricks, whitewash, and cracks are almost tangible. The location is Vlamingstraat 40–42 in Delft. Vermeer’s aunt Ariaentgen Claes lived in the house at the right, with her children, from around 1645 until her death in 1670.” Rijksmuseum

Johannes Vermeer: The Secrets of the Milkmaid

Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum

February 10 – June 4, 2023, The Rijksmuseum has promised the largest Johannes Vermeer exhibition, entitled Vermeer. The magnitude of this exhibition is envisioned in the research projects leading up to the February 2023 opening.  In the weeks ahead, ChasingART will travel virtually to The Rijksmuseum to find the stories behinds the paintings.

Maid With Milk Jug by Johannes Vermeer (Het melkmeisje – Google Art Project, Public Domain

A RESEARCH PROJECT, PART III

From the series Vermeer

“Scientists have been studying The Milkmaid for centuries, but what mysteries does it still hold? Our researchers have been working with the Mauritshuis in The Hague and the University of Antwerp, studying all the Vermeer paintings in the Netherlands. In this video you can see just some of the results!” The Rijksmuseum

At the Rijksmuseum: The Secrets of the Milkmaid
Maid With Milk Jug by Johannes Vermeer (At the Rijksmuseum: The Secrets of the Milkmaid. Public Domain)

Vincent Van Gogh: Poppy Field

“On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, we will remember them.”

Vincent van Gogh – Poppy field – Google Art Project, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
In Flanders Fields
BY JOHN MCCRAE

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.