Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A glut of art

I got back from Christmas and New Year to realise that a bunch of exhibitions I wanted to see were all finishing on January 7th. Fortunately we are Friends of the V&A and the Tate, so Rosemary and I set off on Sunday morning to see the excellent Holbein exhibition at the Tate Britain. He really was an excellent draughtsman and had an unprecedented ability to get inside the personalities of his subjects, although I still don't think he had got the hang of doing hands!

I went off by myself to see the Leonardo drawings show at the V&A. It was good to see some of the material that featured in my Leonardo OU course last year, although I still had to queue for an hour to get in. Whilst there, I discovered that there was a Renaissance exhibition on which also finished on Sunday, which gave me probably my only chance to see Sophonisba Anguissola's Sisters Playing Chess, which also featured in one of my courses last year. It was on loan from a gallery in Poland, so was not to be missed.

After a brief stroll around the Sixties fashion exhibition (I had no idea that there was a craze for paper dresses which only ended because so many customers wouldn't believe they were made of paper and ripped the hems in the stores to find out for themselves!) it was on to the National Gallery to see a crowded but rewarding exhibition of Cezanne's art drawn from public and private collections in England. Finally I ended up at the British Museum to take in the second installment of an excellent selection of French drawings, ranging from Watteau through to Seurat. I was fortunate enough to see his Grande Jatte on a visit to Chicago a few years ago, so it was very exciting to find a couple of his preparatory sketches for the painting in the exhibition.

I certainly won't be trying to visit so many exhibitions in one day again. It was a real effort in terms of concentration and extremely tiring, so I'll have to organize myself better in future!