Category Archives: Assignment 1

Feedback Assignment 1

Just received my feedback on assignment 1. some positive stuff but things to improve on. the main learning points seem to be:

  1. you will need to develop a formal academic writing style for longer pieces
  2. follow conventions for citing references in the Harvard Reference format
  3. Try to broaden your research

I think i probably knew these already. i find it hard finding the right material to base work on. The internet is too general and books can be a little hard to  get hold of. I need to think about some other ways of getting hold of books to help me and using this blog better to record things more fully.

Plus i do have to start doing proper references which i admit i havent as yet.

stuff to work on for sure.


it’s gone

just sent in assignment one and i am very relieved but i know I can get so much better at the work. I have found it hard sourcing the right material online on paintings and artists. this has made the first assignment much harder than i imagined. Maybe i have to hit the books more next time?

I also feel i need to get more confident in putting my thoughts and opinions across about artworks rather than going with what I have read. this will take a while to develop i know but i guess i just have to keep at it and build my skills and confidence.

I think that doing an assignment has made me realise my shortcomings. i hope now that i can address these and make assignment two a much more professional job. Anyway i am looking forward to getting back to some ordinary study where its just about absorbing.

Manchester Art Gallery visit part 2

Looking at the inside of the gallery most of the art is not on the ground floor. There are a couple of rooms for temporary exhibitions but most of this floor is given over to the shop and the cafe. What is interesting about the cafe is that they have some of the galleries collection displayed in it including several Paul Nash paintings. This seems to be a deliberate blurring if the lines between the commercial and the purely artistic aims of the gallery. So you can gaze at artwork and be a consumer at the same time. Here is one of the Nash’s pictures displayed.


I suppose that having genuine article in the cafe does mean that even if you just end up in the cafe on your visit here you can still,  say that you did look at some of the work on display.

As stated before the bulk of the permanent collection is housed in the older part of the building.  It is arranged in a series of smaller galleries that start at the top of the entrance stairs to the left and take you around in a square back to the stairs on the right. They go in chronological order from the 18th century around to the Victoria period. There is also a room at the back of the gallery for 17th Century paintings and for Impressionism and post Impressionism which feel a bit detached from the main collection

As you go around the collection you see that some rooms are randomly themed, for example Gallery 1 is Face and Place, Gallery 6 The Highlands. There doesn’t seem to be any real reason behind this I assume that it relates to the paintings that the gallery has to display and which of these they can plausibly group together in a theme.

What is quite interesting is that at the top of the stairs the gallery has exhibited some of their collection outside of the main galleries.

There is a clear theme to this display and it made a nice change from the chronological galleries around it.

I think possibly that people entering the Impressionist and Post Impressionist gallery would be a little disappointed with the contents as to my mind it does not in reality feature artwork from either. In fact the gallery only has work by two artists LS Lowery and Adolphe Valette. I did notice a comment made in the visitor book to this effect.

Currently on the ground floor in an excellent exhibition for the “Manchester Monet” Wynford Deerhurst.  This featured some excellent pictures, great information and also a couple of short films. Well worth a visit to the gallery on its own.




Manchester Art Gallery Visit part 1


On Saturday I embarked on my visit to Manchester Art Gallery to review the experience of it as a visitor. I now the gallery very well and regularly visit it. on this occasion I did look at it with different eyes however and I found the visit very thought provoking. I think what is particularly interesting about the gallery is that it really is a game of two halves. The front bit above is the original Victorian gallery (a very typical looking gallery for the time).The gallery had a big overhall in the last decade and inherited a brand new modern back part. you can see below to the left.


The two halves are linked by a glass walkway as you can see which gives the gallery a feeling of having to seperate bits. Generally, but not exclusively, the more modern art and the temporary galleries tend to be in the new bit and most of the classic (permanent) art is in the old bit. I think this does work quite well as it sets the scene for the visitor and prepares them for the art they are going to look at.

Entering the two parts of the building is a very different experience. you enter the old part to this which has a very classical feel and as you rise up the stairs to the galleries you are prepared to view some classic cannon art.


On the other hand, you enter the new part of the gallery to this view. which has a very modern more stripped down feel which suits the style of many of the temporary exhibitions that are held there. For example on the day I visited there was an exhibition on modern photography.











I have been writing my notes for the first assignment, basically information i can find on the internet and in books about Gauguin and the picture I selected. To be honest I have found this quite difficult as it is not as easy to find information on minor pictures by artists. I think in hindsight this will make me become more choosy about the picture I select in the future. perhaps a little research beforehand will be a good idea. Just so I can assess how hard or easy it is going to be to do the work. I do find the categories suggested to make notes within (as below) are quite restrictive when it comes to talking about pictures in particular. perhaps they work better for certain art movements or historical periods. it is easy to fill in lots under the “styles and movements” header, but much harder to find much to put in “Changes to status or training of artists”. anyway I soldier on to Manet now followed by Lowry.


  • Political, economic or social factors
  • Changes to status or training of artists
  • Development of materials and processes
  • Styles and movements
  • Inside and outside influences
  • Critics, thinkers and historians

starting my first assignment

New year and had a break over Christmas so high time to get back on track with the first assignment. First up I have to write about 4 works of art (1 portrait, 1 self portrait, 1 nude and 1 religious painting. My daughter has a ballet audition in Birmingham next week so I have a couple of spare hours and i am only a short walk from the Barber Institute of art.

I visited there last year and they have some great painting in their collection. From these I have chosen two as part of my first assignment.

Bathers at Tahiti by Paul Gauguin





I have been doing some prep by looking into the history of the artists and the paintings online then on Thursday i will spend some time looking at the paintings myself getting a feel for them myself.

I have decided to follow the tried and tested method recommended for making notes on a subject.

  • Political, economic or social factors
  • Changes to status or training of artists
  • Development of materials and processes
  • Styles and movements
  • Inside and outside influences
  • Critics, thinkers and historians

Gallery visit

As part of my first assignment I have to visit a gallery and review it. Not just from the art point of view but from the building externally and internally. Also how the art is displayed and categorised and the reasons for doing this. Bit of a secret shopper task in a way. This book has been very useful as it has a chapter on gallery visits. Understang Art History by Grant Pooke and Graham Whitman.


It has proved invaluable in planning my visit to Manchester gallery as I am already thinking about the layout of the building and why it was done this way. I feel much better prepared.