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27 February 2010 @ 07:10 pm
A merry day out in London town  
That heaving, multifaceted metropolis can truly be the greatest detoxifying agent in the world, I swear. Feel SO much better for a 6 hour art blast.

I found myself in Kensington for 9:30, and at the Victoria and Albert for 5 past 10. It was a good thing I did, as the new Medieval & Renaissance exhibition is 3 things:

3-Utterly astounding.

There were moments of overload, it has to be said - one can only take so many pots, spoons, items of glassware and fancy cloaks. But the variety of works, the sheer immense quality of much of it, and the magnificent layout (lots of open space, clear signage, lots of interactive elements - TV quizzes, 'touch this!!' sections, etc) truly made for a superb exhibition. The sheer wealth of items on display - many fine religious artifacts, priestly garments, all sorts of Renaissance artwork and statuary, a fully-rounded cornucopia....I shall definitely be returning, as the damn thing wasn't even FINISHED - 2 sections at least were 'in the works'. Some of the altarpieces were just exquisite, as were the garden statues.

They had some massive altarpieces, whole tapestries, all sorts of other odds and ends. It was exhausting, though, as there was just so so much to see. Do you do the institution a disfavour if you don't read everything, or just yourself? For I did skip the plates in the end.

Otherwise, the V&A looks very interesting - I shall return for a longer visit just to standard V&A at some later stage, no doubt.

After 4 hours in the V&A (which really was enough - I had other tasks to attend to and the mind was getting a little addled by the sheer magnitude of the exhibition),  I headed up the road, towards Harrods, inadvertantly, where I ran into the anti-fur protestors, who I nearly, nearly fired back at with such a witticism as 'I want to buy a Tiger!'. But that idea rapidly evolved into a plot to steal a bear costume, which in turn metamorphosed into a puppy salesperson with a binliner....yep, that wasn't good.

I tubed it over to Leicester Square (the Tubes were up, well, the tubes today - Circle was completely out of action, same with Victoria. Made for fun times...), and headed up to Fopp, where I scored 5 albums for £15, those being:

Fear Factory - The Soul of a New Machine (Their debut - grand stuff)
Fear Factory - Remanufacture (Remixes of Demanufacture, thus insane)
Daath - their debut (have been told it is excellent)
Chet Baker - 2 albums in one, because the guy is just beauty defined.

After that musical extravagance I headed to my final destination, the National Gallery. Upon entering I noticed that the Titian which normally graces the main entrance room was missing. To my joy I found it 3 rooms down, sharing the space with none other than DIANA AND ACTAEON, the £50million gem that the nation now proudly owns. I was under the impression that D&A is a 'Scottish' painting, and thus likely to stay in Edinburgh, but given that amount of English cash ploughed into its acquisition for the nation, I guess the National Gallery has 'arranged' to borrow it for a 'period'. It was such a joy to see it, to see this fabled, exorbitantly priced masterpiece. And truth be told, it is worth it. I mean, fuck it, the government is borrowing more than £50million a DAY at the moment (£4.5billion this Jan alone, AFTER taxes come in! [don't quote me on the figure, I don't care - paintings > banks, nuclear submarines, all that stupid]), so what's £50mill for an absolute gem of a painting? I shall pass no comment on the painting itself, except suffice to say it does live up to reputation - it is a masterpiece of colour, execution and poetic grace.

I proceeded to spend about 25 minutes in and around rooms 57 & 58, focussing on Botticelli's Venus & Mars, my primary painting on the theme of 'innovation' (don't ask, just don't. bloody art...), comparing it to The Martyrdom of St Sebastian, Apollo & Daphne and a few other associated works. I managed to get a few ideas down, then had a proper brain surge, which will hopefully prove most useful in the essay. I realised that Mars is posed like a pieta Christ, mused on the presentation of the work now and how it used to be presented, and other such ideas. Will now make for an essay rather than a mess. Whether it actually comes CLOSE to the concept of 'innovation', fuck knows. :P

So yea, after that I drifted on home, and now am dog tired, but so very happy with this fine day.