Thursday, 28 May 2009

Bank Holiday Weekend

Saturday: gardening and dining

Sunday: London for Picasso and Annie

Took a trip up to London to catch the Picasso: Challenging the Past exhibition at the National Gallery. The idea behind this exhibition was to show examples of Picasso's work that were inspired by, or are responses to, the works of other artists. These included (relatively) well-known works such as Velázquez's Las Meninas and Manet's Le déjeuner sur l'herbe, along with a large number of others. The works exhibited covered Picasso across his entire career, starting with his early representational work, moving through cubism and taking in more symbolic or surrealist works. Needless to say, the exhibition works simply as an opportunity to see work by Picasso. Although I'm usually skeptical of grand, sweeping statements, especially those about art, I was reminded again that Picasso really is the 20th century's premier artist. His range is truly extraordinary, and his skill from an early age as a representational artist allows him to beautifully execute works, regardless of the movement they fit into. This is perhaps a bit gushing, but he's the one artist I admire who's always interesting, and he never went down the "Rothko route" to obscurantism/pretension. Anyway, the one thing this exhibition dropped the ball on was doing a good job on providing the context that it was supposed to be centred on. The little guidebook we got showed some of the works that Picasso was referencing, but the exhibition would have been much improved if these works, or reproductions of them, were also displayed (or displayed better). Some of the works alluded to I was aware of, but many I'd not a clue about, and the exhibition does tend to assume a level of knowledge that's somewhat excluding. Still well worth the trip to London. Actually, one thought that did occur to me was that, while he worked in most of the 20th century's movements, Picasso never tried anything in Pop Art. Maybe a bit too low-brow for him?

We also caught up with Annie and Eddie. As indicated by the photograph above, Annie's about ready to pop. We're not sure if a boy or a girl will result, but it's liable that the name "Thierry" will somehow be used.

Monday: Greasy spoon, Royal Victoria Country Park and more gardening

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