More postcards from exhibitions and galleries...
1) ELS COLOMINS (1957) - Pablo Picasso
A wonderfully exuberant and vibrant painting of the view from Picasso's Calais window, I bought this at the Museu Picasso in Barcelona. I love his punky white pigeons, the propped-up palette, the azure sea and magnificent tree in front of his studio window.
2) LE COURONNEMENT D'EPINES (1602-3) - Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio
Well I never knew Caravaggio was a Michelangelo too! I bought this at the Musée Jacquemart-André when they held an exhibition named FROM GIOTTO TO CARAVAGGIO. Caravaggio lights the scene with his usual shaft of light from one side to illuminate his fleshy, all-too-human Christ, held by two soldiers, as a third forces the crown of thorns onto his head with a stick. I like how Caravaggio has both Christ and the soldier holding him staring into the face of the soldier forcing the crown on as well as the emphasis on the hands of all involved.
3) LA NASCITA DI VENERE (1484) - Sandro Botticelli
Botticelli's iconic Birth of Venus isn't exactly one of my favourite paintings ever but when you go to the Uffizi Gallery shop you have to buy a copy of it - they call the police if you don't! For such an image of idealised beauty Botticelli's Venus is all over the shop physically but I prefer to dwell on the figure in the billowing drapery who hurries to cover Venus' modesty.
4) WOODEN CRUCIFIX (circa 1412) - Fillipo Brunelleschi
This wonderfully realised crucifix is in the Church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence and is one of the many remarkable works of art displayed there. According to the biographer/artist Vasari, Brunelleschi was compelled to make this crucifix after criticizing the one that Donatello had just unveiled in Santa Croce. Donatello's is certainly more realistic than Brunelleschi's idealised, stark figure but if you wish to decide for yourself, head to the Capella Gondi at Novella.
5) ANNE BOLEYN (circa 1533) - unknown
Um. The shame. I have never actually visited this portrait at the National Portrait Gallery! And me a big Boleyn fan. I am telling myself that this is for the best as I would probably try to stick it in my bag! An iconic portrait of an iconic woman, this has been the first stop for any costume designer and/or casting director in the countless retellings of Anne's sorry tale. I do love the stark quality of the portrait, Anne's jet black veil and gown accentuated by the brown furry sleeves and heavily-worked gold and pearls of the dress's neckline - and of course the directness of Anne's coolly knowing gaze, it almost feels like she is saying down the years, "Me? Guilty??"