With its unique fusion of historic castles, thriving streets and towering modern architecture that dominates the city skyline, it comes as no surprise that London has been the muse for many artists.
From the bustling markets of Camden Town capturing the daily lives of Londoners as they go about their business to the imposing historical landmarks of St Paul’s Cathedral, artists have been expressing their own interpretations of this vibrant city in a range of artistic mediums for hundreds of years.
It seems that art is as much part of London as Tower Bridge, The Shard or the colourfully uniformed Beefeaters that flank the Tower of London.
And with so much still left to see and imagine, London will continue to inspire and influence art for many years to come.
Notable artwork inspired by London cityscapes
No list of prominent and well-known London artwork is complete without mentioning the dark and brooding series of paintings by impressionist leader Monet of the Palace of Westminster.
Home to the houses of Parliament, Monet painted this well-known London landmark at different times of the day and during different weather conditions over a number of years using various earthy hues amplified by the fog prevalent to the city in the 1900’s.
Monet wrote to a friend that “I cannot send you a single canvas of London … It is indispensable to have them all before me, and to tell the truth not one is definitely finished” regarding this infamous series of artwork that is currently held in private collections throughout the world.
This quote conveys the idea that the London cityscape is in a continual state of flux and cannot be defined by one picture alone.
For a more contemporary feel, the work of Peter Van Breda is in stark contrast to that of his French predecessor and uses the effect of light and reflection with small bursts of colour that invite the viewer into experience the ‘instant’ of the painting.
An artist who understands the urgency of seizing the moment, Van Breda works directly from the subject and speedily captures the essence of the landscape with dynamic effect.
Some of his best-known pieces include Sunlight on the Thames, St. Paul’s from the Millennium Bridge and Evening Lights, Trafalgar Square with many others being held in private collections in the UK and beyond.
Emerging talent in the London art world
As one of the world’s most captured cityscapes, it comes as no surprise that London is a hotbed of emerging artistic talent gaining a stellar reputation on the ever-changing arts scene. Walk down most London streets and you’ll be amazed by the plethora of galleries and art institutions showcasing the works of many up-and-coming artists that gravitate towards this cultural mecca year after year.
The spirit of modern London has been encapsulated beautifully by prominent London artist Aisha Haider, whose work is exquisitely animated, contemporary and captures the vibrancy of a city teeming with life.
Using a bold impressionistic style and painting using acrylics, her inspiration stems from subjects such as nature, reflections and umbrellas whilst adding in small elements that are uniquely hers.
One particularly atmospheric piece is Our Love In London 2, which is a romantic, emotive painting that is sure to conjure warm and sentimental feelings in all that view it.
Haider’s work is steadily gaining in popularity and having sold in excess of 1,000 pieces so far, her career is certainly one to watch in the future.
Another notable talent residing in London is award-winning artist Louise Gillard. Recently voted overall winner in the Jackson pastel landscape competition, Gillard excels in creating textured landscapes of her beloved London and further afield for which she uses oils and acrylics to construct her scenes.
Preferring a loose, interpretive style for her paintings, Gillard has gained a lot of praise for her landscapes and has exhibited her works at Panter & Hall Gallery, Putney Arts Theatre, Urban Art Fair, Chelsea Art Society Annual Exhibitions, Wandsworth Arts Fringe and a number of open house exhibitions.
Gillard’s Winter pond, Wandsworth Common catches the falling autumn foliage beautifully and is certain to be a stand out feature in the home of any owner who is fortunate enough to buy it.
A former student of Kingsway College, Eraclis Artistidou draws the inspiration for much of his work from the Thames area in which he was born.
His work aims for an abstract representation of the subject, and his bold and striking use of layers of colour produces a three-dimensional perspective in which abstract landmarks emerge from his thickly applied paint and sharp, brave lines.
Small but stark detail is suggested in each piece, giving a sense of place and familiarity whilst keeping his work contemporary and visually engaging for the viewer.
Some of Eraclis’s latest pieces are currently for sale and will definitely be a talking point once hung in their new home.
Using new and innovative buildings and materials as his key subject matter lends itself perfectly to the texture and abstract feeling that the artist endeavours to create in all of his pieces. Much of his work focuses upon the varied and interesting skylines of large cities, London being amongst them.