The Tate Britain

As published on Oman Observer today, December 15th.

Visiting the Tate Britain exhibition at Sayyid Faisal bin Ali Museum was the highlight of my week. It was all about ‘The Art Of Seeing Nature Masterpieces from Tate Britain’ which is a very famous museum and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage took part in spreading this magnificent art by transporting six valuable paintings that date back to 300 years.

We were greeted by a cheerful Omani man who took great pleasure in giving us the basic history of the museum which was first opened by His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tareq al Said in January 2008. Then an enthusiastic Omani woman toured us around and gave quite an insightful information about each painting and advised us into noticing the tiny details lingering in each of the paintings.

The six paintings were drawn using the method of Oil on Canvas by prolific painters who were born or working in Britain: (1) Thomas Gainsborough — Sunset: Carthorses Drinking at a Stream, (2) George Stubbs — Mares and Foals in a River Landscape, (3) John Constable — The Grove, Hampstead, (4) Joseph Mallord William Turner — The Golden Bough, (5) Sir John Everett Millais — Dew-Drenched Furze, (6) John Singer Sargent — The Mountains of Moab.

My favourite painting was ‘Mares and Foals in a River’; first exhibited in 1763-1768 and is probably the oldest one at the museum. The idea that the animals (who are said to be from the Arab stock and was a great deal in Britain back then) were drawn first instead of the background is an ingenious one; also, George Stubbs applied his knowledge in anatomy and dissection on the animals’ specific details starting from its very hair and ending with every muscle shown on the body, making it one of the flawless drawings out there.

Second favourite was the Dew-Drenched Furze, first exhibited in 1889-1890. John Everett Millais painted this amazing drawing of nature that includes different plants in such a way that it doesn’t lead the eye to a central point, but allows it to wander in the other areas. It represents the unknown distance to a man through the colour levels used in order to portray an almost perfect 3 dimensional figure of a lake.

The great bond between Oman and Britain enabled us to have this one-of-a-kind opportunity and we’re forever grateful for the mere fact. Pay the museum a visit; you’ll be wowed with the incredible historic painting.