The National Gallery, another milestone for BBL

BBLTranslation and art. Translation partner for projects such as the novel Towards Constantinople and Renaissance exhibitions at the National Gallery.

Last spring, the National Gallery presented the first exhibition in Britain to explore the role of architecture within painting, and focusses on Italian Renaissance painting of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries.

Building the Picture: Architecture in Italian Renaissance Painting at the National Gallery aims to increase visitors’ appreciation and understanding of some of the most beautiful and architectonic paintings by Italian masters such as Duccio, Botticelli, Crivelli and their contemporaries. Visitors will be encouraged to look in new ways at buildings depicted in paintings, and to investigate how artists invented spaces in mind and paint that transcended the reality of bricks, mortar and marble.

In Renaissance Italy, art and architecture were closely interconnected and the boundaries between all the arts were fluid. An important reason for this was that there was no specific educational programme or apprenticeship for architects. The Florentine architect Brunelleschi, for example, trained as a goldsmith, while Michelangelo was a painter and sculptor before he designed buildings.

Caroline Campbell, Curator of Italian Paintings before 1500, said: “This exhibition at the National Gallery provides a wonderful opportunity to think about how pictures can achieve an architectural sort of beauty. We can look beyond perspective to appreciate the imagined and fantastical spaces created by architecture. And the sense of mass, scale and three-dimensionality introduced by buildings changes the balance and feel of a painting.”

Building the Picture explores the roles played by architecture in painting and how it affects the viewing process. Architecture within paintings has often been treated as a passive background or as subordinate to the figures. This exhibition shows how, on the contrary, architecture underpinned many paintings, and was used to design the whole picture from the very start.

Building the Picture: Architecture in Italian Renaissance Painting is an online catalogue produced by the National Gallery to accompany the exhibition. It is curated by Dr. Amanda Lillie, Reader in History of Art at the University of York; and Caroline Campbell, Curator of Italian Paintings before 1500; with Alasdair Flint, CDA PHD student, University of York/National Gallery.

Communication takes place not only through words but also through images. Pictures speak a universal language, with the most important message usually expressed in the title of the work. So how do you translate the title of a work of art? First you have to think about the best way to communicate the essence of the painting in a few words. The title must be catchy, clear, simple and straightforward. Is an artistic translator required to carry out the translation of artistic texts? No, it is not essential. A talented translator with a healthy dose of creativity will suffice.

Leave a Reply