Thursday, 15 April 2004

My 5 Year Old Couldn't Have Done That

One of the thrills of being in London was the opportunity to see the El Greco exhibition at the National Gallery. Once you get through the Counter Reformation propaganda of the subject matter, the paintings are stunning in themselves. Some are so huge they fill the whole wall, and the light that seems to flow from them is a feat of technical wizardry. Many of them are astonishingly modern in appearance, too. It's easy to see how Picasso could have found them so attractive, and how much "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" owes to El Greco's "The Fifth Seal."

Later on, I got a chance to see the new Lucian Freud pictures at the Wallace Collection. He seems to get better and better and his little self-portrait I thought genuinely moving.

After that, a quick whiz round the Collection to look, in particular, at the Fragonards. "The Swing" is the star of that gallery. I know it's fashionable to knock Fragonard for being frivolous, but this is a great little picture, full of light and a sense of people just having a bit of naughty fun. What's wrong with that? I was also tempted to roll up Rembrandt's portrait of his son Titus and stuff it under my coat, but finally couldn't choose between that and a little-known picture called "The Bookworm", so decided to stay honest for the day.

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