Courtauld Art Gallery in Somerset House is among the must see attractions in London. It has an unparalleled collection of masterpieces by Gauguin, Monet, Van Gogh, and Cezannes. In fact, this art gallery has the maximum number of paintings of Cezanne in United Kingdom. This collection of both Impressionist and Post-impressionist painters is unrivalled throughout UK.
Courtauld is not just an art gallery but a complete institute offering studies and research. Regular classes in painting, sculpture and decorative arts are held in this institute. The collections are predominantly of 19th and 20th centuries received mostly as gifts from different sources.
Somerset House on River Thames bank is a spectacular building built in 18th century. Once the residence of three Catholic Queens: Catherine of Braganza, Henrietta Maria, and Anne of Denmark it is now an important art gallery. Royal Academy of Art was housed in this building before it got converted to an art museum and institute. This regal building with Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court in the heart of London occupies a significant place in London’s cultural life. Throughout the year several shows and exhibitions are held that keeps the building throbbing with life. A total of 11 spaces are rented out for gatherings of 8 to 1500 guests. Free guided tours are conducted on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Courtauld Institute of Art
The Courtauld Institute of Art offers undergraduate, post graduate and doctorate programmes for eligible students from across the globe. Its undergraduate course leads to B.A. History of Art. Postgraduate courses offered by the institute are varied and includes:
- A. in History of Art;
- Graduate Diploma in History of Art;
- A. in History and Conservation of Buddhist Art;
- A. in Curating Art Museum;
- A. in Conservation of Wall Painting;
- Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation of Easel Paintingshe institute doctoral programmes in various fields like Medieval and Byzantine Art, Renaissance, Modern and Contemporary Art, Conservation and Technology and so on. Workshops and short courses are held regularly covering specific areas.
The Courtauld Gallery
Paintings – The Gallery allows you to come face-to-face with masterpieces of Impressionist and Post-impressionist artists. Paintings, drawings and decorative artwork from Renaissance to 20th century painters adorn the Gallery. Paintings of Paul Gauguin, Edouard Monet, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, and Van Gogh would grab your attention. Early 20th century painter Amedeo Modigliani and post Second World War painter Frank Auerbach are also featured in Courtauld Gallery. Paintings by French Fauves including Andre Derain, Henry Matisse, and Raoul Dufy are also displayed with pride. Creations of German Expressionist painters Erich Henkel, Wassily Kandinsky, and Ernt Ludwig Kirchner are also seen here. Oskar Kokoschka’s ‘The Prometheus Triptych’ ceiling painting is displayed occasionally.
Sculpture and Decorative Art – This collection mainly consists of European art works dating back to Antiquity till 20th century. Gothic ivory carvings from medieval France and metal vessels from 13th century Middle East are displayed in this section. Renaissance sculpture in form of marble relief, Venetian glass and ceramics are featured in this Gallery.
Courtauld Gallery in Somerset House is easily accessible from London Premier Kensington by road or by metro. Temple, Covent Garden, Embankment, and Charing Cross are the metro rail accesses to Somerset House. The Gallery remains open for visitors from 10am to 6pm with last admission at 5:30pm. 25th and 26th December are closed.