Strange Beauty: Masters of the German Renaissance

Cranach: Cupid complaining to Venus

(National Gallery, London, until 11 May 2014)

If forewarned is forearmed, then I went to this exhibition fully armed with the mixed (and sometimes frankly baffled) reactions of friends and colleagues. The National Gallery are clearly trying to do something slightly different in this show, and the ambition itself is commendable, but they just don’t quite pull it off. The key distinction I’m going to have to make in this post is between the works on show, which were indeed beautiful, and the concept of the exhibition itself, which seems to skip confusingly between several different driving themes.

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