Manchester Art Gallery
- A wonderful range of images, dramatically juxtaposed to explore themes of life and death
- Sumptuous details invite the reader to take a closer look
Up Close is published to celebrate Manchester Art Gallery’s re-opening in 2002 after four years of major refurbishment, and the completion of a spectacular glass-domed new wing, which has allowed for the Gallery’s expansion. This stunningly illustrated guide examines in depth many of the Gallery’s highlights, which include its world-renowned collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, British art from the 19th to the 20th centuries, as well as English earthenware and silver. Featured here are paintings by Bridget Riley, Lucien Freud, L. S. Lowry and Thomas Gainsborough, as well as unusual, quirky pieces of furniture, such as William Burges’ chest of drawers and display cabinet. These two pieces have only recently been brought together, having been separated shortly after Burges’ death in 1881. All the works featured have been chosen to capture the unique character of the collections; they are not organized chronologically or thematically, and so engage the reader in a surprising and challenging way. Famous and less well-known paintings and prints sit alongside stunning pieces of furniture, ceramics and glass. Each entry is accompanied by an extended caption and often a colour detail of a key element within the work. The lively, accessible text provides a fascinating exploration of how works of art demand a response from the viewer.
Michael Howard is a Senior Lecturer in the History of Art and Design at the Manchester Metropolitan University. He has published widely on European art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Titles include L.S. Lowry: A Visionary Artist and The Impressionists by Themselves. He is a practising painter, print-maker and ceramicist.