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London is a veritable haven for art lovers

Published: Friday 13th of May 2011

With so many cultural London attractions littering the capital, it is a haven for art lovers.

Renowned galleries feature fascinating works of art spanning the centuries, from masterpieces of the renaissance and the extensive collections of famous art lovers right up to the cutting edge multimedia installations of today.

Art fans who are inspired by the dark, rich colours of the Romantics era should not miss the exhibition currently running at the Tate Britain.

The nine-room exhibition includes works by Henry Fuseli, JMW Turner, John Constable, Samuel Palmer and William Blake - all pulled from the museum's vast collection.

Romantics were defined by their joint belief in a creative freedom, meaning that this special exhibition features a vast range of styles and concepts - making it compulsive viewing for anyone interested in the era.

Highlights include Henry Wallis' Chatterton (1856), Plate six of Blake's breathtaking First Book of Urizen and Turner's Sun Setting over a lake (1840).

However, for those looking for something contemporary, thought-provoking and visually stark should head to the Tate Modern to experience new exhibition Photography: New Documentary Forms, running until March 2012.

The display, which spans five rooms, highlights the power of photography as a medium of documentary.

Recent works by Luc Delahaye, Mitch Epstein, Guy Tillim and Akram Zaatari are all on show, as are two vital earlier works by Boris Mikhailov.

Subjects tackled include the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Congo's elections, studio photography in Beirut, power production in the US and life in pre and post-Soviet Ukraine.

Visitors opting for the National Portrait Gallery for things to do in London are invited to learn about bohemian photographer Ida Kar.

The little known artist was the first photographer to have a retrospective exhibition at a major London art gallery in 1960 and now, half a century afterwards, the National Portrait Gallery is presenting a re-evaluation of her work.

She photographed the most influential figures from the literary and artistic worlds in the 1950s and 1960s and was a key figure in helping the world to view photography as a form of fine art.

Heading over to the Courtauld Gallery, tourists in the capital can take advantage of the centre's extensive collection, which is a particular treat for history buffs as it includes gothic and medieval works as well as pieces from the Renaissance and a Rubens and the Baroque section. As well as 18th and 20th century compilations, the museum hosts an impressionism and post-impressionism collection which is a favourite with visitors.

The gothic and medieval section draws spectacular Italian works from the 14th and 15th centuries, including pieces by Bernardo Daddi, Giotto's greatest pupil, and renowned monk painter Fra Angelico. Northern European art also features heavily in the collection with particular highlights including the Lamentation Triptych by the Master of Flemalle, considered a great masterpiece of early Netherlandish painting.

Many people will no doubt visit the Courtauld Gallery to view its renowned Impressionism & Post Impressionism collection. From Monet and Renoir to Seurat and Gauguin, the works track the development of modern French painting. Masterpieces such as Van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergere and canvasses by Cezanne are not to be missed by any visitor to the museum.

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