Billboards display the best of British art

© Art Everywhere

It's a great way of bringing art to the public. Everywhere you look this week in the UK there will be great art on 22,000 poster sites and billboards up and down the country. The idea is that people will want to enjoy the real thing in museums after seeing them at their local bus stop.

As part of the Art Everywhere project, the great British public got to vote for their favourite pictures from a list of 100 famous artists. From this 57 British masterpieces were chosen to go on display.

Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the chosen pictures featured images of water, trees, canoes and nature. The most popular was a picture of a canoe, and a woman crying over a lost love: The Lady of Shalott, 1888 by John William Waterhouse.

Ophelia, John Everett Millais, 1851–52

The second most popular was also a tragic image ( is the public in a morbid frame of mind?), it is Ophelia, in which she is driven mad by Hamlet, falls into a brook and drowns.

Alfred Wallis, Five Ships – Mount’s Bay, 1928

Weighing in at seventh place, these lovely ships were painted by a Cornish fisherman who took up painting at the age of 70 following his wife’s death. Alfred Wallis' raw, some might call it primitive, style is greatly admired.

billboardsBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0
Neighbours, Sir Stanley Spencer, 1936

Who could resist this wonderful picture of neighbours, reaching out to each other across a flowering hedge? It's about harmony, friendship, and a life of sociability.

billboardsBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0
John Constable, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, 1831

Salisbury Cathedral by John Constable is a lovely view of the famous church from the meadow. The overall effect is one of a fresh, breezy day, with the rainclouds clearing and blue patches of sky.

Patrick Caulfield, After Lunch, 1975

Art Everywhere is the brain child of the creator of Innocent Smoothie drinks. He had the idea after he saw a picture on a poster when walking down the street: "It wasn't titled and it didn't have a logo and I never knew why it was there but it was a beautiful thing." He approached the poster industry, which agreed to donate the sites for almost two weeks.

bilboardsBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

As part of the fun, people are snapping arty shots of the posters across the country. Take a look at some of the juxtapositions that have been spotted. For example, Francis Bacon at a bus stop.

Billboards display the best of British art
Everywhere you look for the next week in London there is an arty billboard.

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