IELTS and Cambridge ESOL exams occasionally feature art-related topics and it is a subject that our tutors cover during classes. Students who learn with Unique Language Training tend to be substantially more motivated than students of other language schools, and therefore more keen to explore London. The city has many world-class art museums and our instructors often spend time at some of them both with and without our students.
In this blog post, we are going to choose a selection of art galleries in London that we love and talk about some of the language that you can use when describing art.
Our first choice for a place in central London to visit is the quiet and beautiful Courtauld Gallery. It is located in Somerset House on The Strand, which is about ten minutes from Trafalgar Square. Filled with impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, it is an inspirational and rejuvenating place to visit. There is a fee for admission.
THE WALLACE COLLECTION
Situated in the very chichi area of London known as Marylebone, The Wallace Collection holds classic art in terms of paintings, armoury and various household objects. Once again, it is a very quiet place to visit and, unlike the Courtuald, it is free to enter. It is the home of the famous painting "The Laughing Cavalier.". They also have a very nice restaurant in the centre of the house that is fanous for its afternoon tea.
VICTORIA MIRO GALLERY
This is a private gallery based in Islington in north London. As it is private and somewhat difficult to get to, you will find that it is pretty quiet on most days. We like it because it is massive and the space is used well. There is also a beautiful garden in the centre of the complex.
There are several White Cube galleries dotted around London, and we like the ones in Bermondsey and Mayfair. White Cube is a private gallery and focuses on contemporary art. The one in Bermondsey (near London Bridge station) is very large and is on a street filled with great shops and restaurants.
TALKING ABOUT ART
When talking about art, it is difficult to tread the fine line between being boring and being considered pretentious (pretending to know more than you do).
Our instructors recommend that you use more powerful and descriptive adjectives than simply saying "nice" or "good". Words such as "superlative", "deep" and "contrasting" offer so much more to the listener.
Talk about the light, the brushwork ("feathery", "heavy", "subtle"), the draftsmanship (the drawings) and what the artist was thinking about when creating the artwork.
We encourage you to watch the various documentaries on BBC4 and Sky Arts that explore art in detailed and informative ways. The vocbulary and expressions used in these documentaries will help you to communicate even more effectively. Presenters to pay particular attention to include Alistair Sook, Andrew Graham-Dixon and Waldemar Januszjack on BBC television and Tim Marlow among others on Sky Arts.
We hope that has helped you wit your cultural life in London and to improve your English skills. If you have any questions, let us know.
If you would like to take private English as a Foreign Language classes with Unique Language Training, contact us via e-mail, by filling out the form on this page or by telephoning 020 3566 0145.