It is that time of year when people book holidays or look forward to the year ahead. Most of my trips are already planned in with attention now turning to 2021… However, art wise I think that 2020 will be a great year. The next 12 months will have some great exhibitions and here are the highlights of what Alessandra and I will be visiting.
1) Van Eyck An Optical Revolution (1 February until 30 April)
The Ghent Exhibition of Van Eyck will I’m sure be a blockbuster and it is already in my mind approaching something like the Bosch exhibition of 2016 – this was also a homecoming of sorts for the Cities most famous son! I wanted to see the Ghent Altarpiece for years and wasn’t disappointed. I have been a huge Van Eyck fan ever since. The inclusion of some of outer panels makes this really special. Continue reading 5 exhibitions to look forward to in 2020 →
Putney Labour Gain. Three words on an otherwise fantastic night that ought to chill the local Conservative party to the bone.
It is incredibly frustrating for me as someone who is a passionate supporter and member of my local Conservative party. We used to be great at campaigning – what has often been referred to as the ‘Wandsworth Way’ of doing things.
A campaign machine which made its own weather now blows like a reed in the wind.
Some will say this is overblown, that it’s mere hyperbole and that there is nothing we could have done to hold back the red tide.
I think it does show a worrying pattern and there is more on that at the very end in terms of the repeated failures. That’s why I have written this blog. We can be sure the Labour Party are already thinking about what they got right – read this blog post from them.
Continue reading As the only Labour Gain in 2019 let’s face it: Putney is a bit of an embarrassment! →
“Impossible to see the future is”, said Yoda, and that’s certainly been true in respect of the art I’ve seen throughout 2017. I couldn’t have imagined for example how spectacular the Bernini exhibition currently on at the Galleria Borghese would be. Likewise, the Arcimboldo exhibition at the Palazzo Barberini. Both had been unknown to me back in January 2017. But that doesn’t stop us non-Jedi trying, so here are the 5 things I’m looking forward to visiting in 2018.
Fingers crossed it lives up to the last 12 months because looking back we really did see some fantastic stuff. Both the highly acclaimed Vermeer at the Louvre, which kicked of the artist year for us, and then the Caravaggio at the Palazzo Reale which bookended the year were fabulous. Both exhibitions will stay long in the memory and have raised the bar in terms of what we should expect from a truly great exhibition.
It’s difficult to imagine how a collection of 1,500 or more works can be reassembled. In reality we are likely to see less than a tenth of the works this pioneering monarch put together. Continue reading Not to be missed exhibitions in 2018 →
Visiting Milan has become a family tradition over the last couple of years as my wife Alessandra and I make the most of being in Italy over the Christmas Break.
One Milanese tradition I wish London Mayor Sadiq Khan would import is to be found at Palazzo Marino. It’s the seat of government very much like our own City Hall though with a more familiar grand palazzo feel.
Each year they get one artistic masterpiece and put it on display. It’s free to go and see and it’s used as an opportunity to provide the art loving public with the chance to see something they wouldn’t otherwise. Continue reading Why London ought to get its own artistic treat for Christmas 2018 →
It’s a real testament to the popularity of this exhibition, Dentro Caravaggio (best translated as ‘inside Caravaggio’), that people in Milan were prepared to join long queues for up to two hours in the hope of getting into see this superb exhibition. Every online ticket on my visit, on 26th December, was sold out but Santa had thankfully already taken care of the logistics. Continue reading Inside Caravaggio – A Christmas Treat from Milan →
I had the pleasure a few days ago of going to Christie’s auction house just off St James’ Square. The entrance wasn’t hard to find. As I turned the corner, even from the end of the street you could clearly see the hordes of expectant people waiting to go in.
What had drawn us there? Something quite rare and magical. It’s the last Da Vinci painting in private hands. On November 14th it will go up for sale and, before that, it’s going to make whistle stop tours in Hong Kong and San Franscio.
It is a painting I was fortunate to see once before at the 2012 Painter at the Court of Milan exhibition at the National Gallery. There are really powerful echoes for me with the Durer self-portrait in the Alte-Pinakothek in Munich.
To read more, just click on the link to the in depth study by Christie’s. The ringlets in the hair, the hand pointed skyward and the fabulously rendered cloth are something I could have looked at for hours.
I came away with two thoughts – one more a wish. Firstly, that we are so fortunate here in London to have some of the major art events like this. Secondly, a hope that the painting, which will no doubt be sold for record sums, goes not back into private hands but instead to a world class museum so that many more people can continue to enjoy it.
The recent spate of sunny days makes it easier to forget the cold dark winter months. If you are looking for something to do when the weather turns again, think no further than Lisbon. It’s even on the same time zone as the UK and there are plenty of flights from Heathrow. Continue reading Give Lisbon a chance and you won’t regret it →
You have to go all the way back to the Rembrandt the Late Works exhibition in October 2014 to find a stand out exhibition at the National Gallery. What’s followed since then hasn’t been devoid of interest, but is it as interesting as the current Vermeer at the Louvre? Certainly not. This ultimately is the National Gallery’s immediate peer group and the type of exhibition it will be judged against.
Having been severely underwhelmed by the Australian Impressionists, I had high hopes for Michelangelo and Sebastiano. Continue reading Has the National Gallery gone off the boil? →
For me, my artistic year really doesn’t get going till next weekend when we are going to be visiting Lisbon to see just four paintings! Yes, I know, but to be honest I’m sure we’ll have a great time and with a Raphael, a Piero della Francesca and a Durer amongst others on the ‘must see’ list it will be great.
My visit this weekend to see the Australian Impressionist exhibition at the weekend left me with the distinct feeling that the National Gallery has lost its way a little. I’ve not really enjoyed the last 3-4 exhibitions and other UK based Galleries don’t seem to have the same draw for me as they did with some great shows like Giorgione at the RA in 2016.
So this year I’ll be casting my net a little further afield. Continue reading What to look forward to in 2017… →
I’m unashamedly a big fan of the mega museums. I keep lists and tick them off. Yes, I’m that geeky. But it’s also important to recognise the great collections elsewhere. Recently my travels took me to Bergamo and the Accademia Carrara.
It has recently undergone a makeover (it was closed from 2008-15) and the result is impressive. This is one of the best run museums Continue reading Brilliance and Lotto in Bergamo →