Murillo at the Wallace Collection (2013)

Murillo: Adoration of the Shepherds

Painting of the Spanish Golden Age

(Wallace Collection, London, until 12 May 2013)

Fresh from Dulwich on Sunday afternoon, I headed up to the Wallace Collection for the second instalment of my Murillo adventure. Here the exhibition is very small and, as at Dulwich, precisely focused. With one exception, it contains only pictures that were bought by the 4th Marquess of Hertford (1800-1870) in the mid-19th century and form part of the Collection. It therefore acts not only as an introduction to Murillo, but it shows us Murillo through the eyes of the 19th century, when Lord Hertford was buying his pictures at auction.

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The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe (2012)

Combined rapier and wheel-lock pistol

(Wallace Collection, London, until 16 September 2012)

Precisely focused both in historical period and subject, this exhibition gives a glimpse of the social culture of swordsmanship that existed in Europe between about 1550 and 1610. It traces the development of the rapier from the broader, shorter swords of the early Renaissance and late medieval period. This wasn’t just a stylistic development: it heralded a completely different approach to the handling of the sword.

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