An exhibition of masterpieces from Tate’s historic British collection, The Art of Seeing Nature: Masterpieces from Tate Britain will be presented at Sayyid Faisal bin Ali Museum, Muscat from 30 November 2010 to 25 January 2011. The exhibition has been organised as a pioneering collaboration between the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, Oman and Tate. It is a British contribution to the 40th National Day of the Sultanate of Oman.
The exhibition shows six masterpieces by six great artists born or working in Britain. This is the first time that these works have been shown in the Middle East. The pictures are:
Thomas Gainsborough Sunset: Carthorses Drinking at a Stream circa 1760
George Stubbs Mares and Foals in a River Landscape 1763-8
John Constable The Grove, Hampstead 1821-2
Joseph Mallord William Turner The Golden Bough 1834
Sir John Everett Millais Dew-Drenched Furze 1889-90
John Singer Sargent The Mountains of Moab 1905
Selected for their outstanding quality, the works represent highlights of Tate’s unrivalled collection of historic British art, and of the development of painting in Britain as it depicted landscape and the natural world. Gainsborough’s rustic woodland is a lyrical work of the imagination, based on memories of his childhood, his rides in the countryside and the example of earlier Dutch painting. Turner’s sunlit vision of Italy is also historically inspired, by classical myth and history. In the work of Constable at Hampstead, Millais on a sporting estate in Scotland and Sargent in the Middle East we see the emergence of naturalism, in which landscape and scenery are observed on the spot. Stubbs’ portraiture of horses, as sensitively and expressively observed as if they were human, was no less rigorous and based on anatomical study and dissection. His horses are evidently of Arab blood, specimens perhaps of the bloodstock exported to England from the region during the 18th centuryThe exhibition will be accompanied by a bi-lingual publication, and a film exploring themes in the paintings with contributions from a number of people including Ali b. Abdullah al-Habsi, the renowned goalkeeper of the Omani national football team, who knows the British and the Omani landscape . There will also be an outreach programme including school visits and expert lectures and activities for young children in the exhibition. This is the first project in a long-term relationship between Tate and the Ministry of Heritage and Culture in Oman.