Metamorphosis: Titian 2012

Metamorphosis: Titian

(National Gallery, London, until today)

Sometimes I get it wrong. Sometimes I jump to conclusions about what I will or won’t like and almost do myself out of the chance to see something interesting. This exhibition has been on since July, as an Olympic-related arts collaboration, and yet I hadn’t troubled to take a short bus journey to Trafalgar Square to see it. This is largely because I thought the point of the show was to reinterpret Titian’s paintings and, to be honest, I like Titian just as he is. In fact, having done my MA on Titian, I was rather annoyed at the implication that contemporary artists were somehow making him more relevant by transforming his works. However, I hold up my hands: I misunderstood.

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Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan

Leonardo: Madonna and Child with St Anne

Yesterday morning, at 8:30am, a full hour and a half before the gallery opened, I joined the queue which was already snaking around the National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing.  The hype in the press about this exhibition has been cranked up to fever-pitch and all advance tickets have now been sold.  The only way to get in to see it is to queue on a morning in the hope of getting one of 500 tickets released every day.  The anticipation and excitement in the queue were electric, and it was wonderful to be there with people who had gone to such great extremes to get tickets.  One woman had come down from Nottingham and had got up at 3:30am in order to get to London on time to queue.

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