Tate Modern

So, its the british version of MassMoca today. Am looking forward to it--and right as Rob said, the guy that did the amusement park work has an installation there. Yesterday we trekked out to Clapton to meet with the artist, Francisco Centofani--a young painter trained in Florence (where John Thompson met him). He was busy painting a handrail when we got there so we could see how he paints houses too. He showed us a collection of works--my favorites being essentially portraits of trees. He has worked on some interesting, stripped down paintings in limited palettes of things happening in the night-time. He will paint the paintings and then just paint out some of the picture to a solid--giving it a very graphic and illustratory feel. Not overly inspiring but with everything, there was something to take away.

We got back to London and spend the remander of the day at The National Gallery. Did I say PHENOMENAL? It was like having the dessert cart of the Jansen History of Art brought out and being told to eat the entire thing. One amazing painting after the other. I am fearful Kitty and Alex would HATE it because it is totally all about painting...but if you have to be tortured, this is the place. Arnofini Wedding, tons of Botticellis, Zubarin, Titans, and Holbeins galore.Angels and Marys to beat the band. The tiny Van Eyck portait of himself wearing a rosy, ruby turban.
And the Gainsboros, Reynolds and british portraits in abundance...one better than the next.

It was funny spending time in my world of the early Rennaissance and the Sienese School...To be surrounded by the vast riches the National Gallery offers, I was struck by the brilliant, out of the tube color that radiate from these pictures. I mean the compositions, symbols, stories and artistry is amazing, but the extrodinary color that just bounces off the canvas was amazing. The mannerists were fond of orange and blue bouncing off each other in a very active way. Amazing.

The building is phenomenal..and for you R, it uses a ton of skylights in the galleries and limited lighting. This works far better than the British Museums natural light thing. Back to the National--Huge pots of cream and red amaryllis with greens flanking the doorway. Good free maps. Colored walls in the galleries. No shortage of gold, detail and plasterwork. Not shy. But the collection! and the curatation...Just an example, there are paintings that were done in the Rennaissance for the lids of chests. They are big paintings (the Botticelli above is an example) and they display an actual chest below the painting to make the point.
There were a zillion highschool groups (Kitty, the guys are totally kay ute--with the right haircuts a la MassMoca guy)--from all over Europe being taken through--and the students were focused, polite etc.

I bought postcards (50p each...that is a hair less than a buck a shot)--Their shop was less wonderful...and really limited book selection. They had the appropriate Taschen works...and a gallery guide but that was it.

Had a pub lunch called Speckled Hen...which comprised of sausages and vegetables with an onion gravy in a huge yorkshire pudding...It looked like lunch was in a little nest with the sausages peeking out like eggs. Alex--you would really have loved it. Lots of burgers offered (including Lamb). Lots of italian and middle eastern food in our neighborhood. The food is very good as is the coffee--Starbucks has brought coffee into the twenty first century. The Earl Grey is delicious too.

We had lunch the other day at a chain place called Pret Manger. Take out premade sandwiches that ranged from smoked salmon to bacon all cut into wedges and shown edge side out.Hot wraps. Soup. Gingerbeer, sparkling lemonade, still and sparkling water. It really worked with the folks I was with. I had a lemony salad with prawns and greens that was just enough--but better than anything I have had in a long time. It was about £3.50...

The chocolate makers are very excited about easter and Mothers day (this weekend here) with candies that say I heart MUM and stuff like that. Tons of big filled eggs, marzipan bunnies, chocolate chickens.

I have no patience for this group thing. The folks we are with are embarassing for me--and to be honest, no one knows or is trying to figure out how to do things (like ride the subway--or decide where to have lunch). I am the only one with a map--and a subway map. If I have a chance today, I would like to dump this group. Each of the folks behind us have brought a boyfriend, girlfriend or partner--and that class has not jelled. It is pathetic. They don't talk to each other...or help each other. There just doesnt seem to be any significant effort or understanding around moving their personal needle. I have written off groups in general.

It was good to look at painting with Richard and Chris Williams as they have been around and look at things differently than I do...however, when they started swooning over the Titans, I had to be in my world of the early Rennaissance...and Holbein, a world they cannot bear. Makes me itchy to do a portrait or two.

Had dinner with the Williams brothers. They are off to Paris today. We have the Tate Modern and an illustrator this afternoon. If the British is open, I am going over to see the Beatrix Potter sketches. Maybe the V and A tomorrow. After this week, I won't need to go to museums for at least a month. Overload.

More later>>