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Working at the Gallery: 'Hero Paintings'

 John Virtue Home Working at the Gallery: 'Hero Paintings'
More about Jacob van Ruisdael, 'A Pool surrounded by Trees' More about Philips Koninck, 'Landscape with Houses in a Wood' More about Philips Koninck, 'An Extensive Landscape with a Hawking Party'
 More about Thomas Gainsborough, 'Cornard Wood'
More about Jacob van Ruisdael, 'A Landscape with a Ruined Castle and a Church' More about John Constable, 'Stratford Mill' More about John Constable, 'Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows'
More about Peter Paul Rubens, 'A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning' More about Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Margate (?), from the Sea' More about Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'The Evening Star'

Black and white photographs of John Virtue's 'Hero Paintings' on his studio wall. Photo © The National Gallery, London.
* The two smaller photographs are not in the National Gallery collection.

'It's how I see': John Virtue on working in black and white, and using black and white reproductions of his 'Hero Paintings'.

 Click on a photograph to hear John Virtue talk about the painting
 Photograph of John Virtue

A lot of the paintings I know very well in this gallery. One could go as far to say that I'm haunted by them, deeply moved by them and they have been touchstones, anchors in my career over the last twenty-five years at least.

They are somehow the perfect condensed thesaurus of how to make a landscape painting, how to react to this tradition and go beyond it - to further it by attacking it.

And I could say - I do know this now from doing it - that more familiarity does not breed contempt. It breeds a deeper and deeper love; a spiritual experience.