It seems pretty self indulgent to sit down and write about my favourite things of the year, but I keep thinking about this and so decided I may as well write it down. But I’m off to a bad start as I can’t even make my mind up for my first category – Favourite Painting – I can’t choose between two:
Yo-Picasso, Picasso Self Portrait – while Picasso’s early paintings on show at the Courtauld Gallery this year couldn’t compare to his later works of genius, his self portrait, with dramatic brush strokes and intense stare stood out and captured your attention in the room, just as it must have done at his first shows in Paris. It made me feel like I’d just discovered a bright new talent. Thank you Courtauld Gallery.
And the second one? Anton Romako’s Portrait of Isabella Reisser – in Facing the Modern at National Gallery it’s just a fascinating image that blurs the lines between formal ‘Victorian’ portraiture of nobility and an intense and striking portrait of a woman. Its beautiful, but also very real (despite the ridiculously thin waist).
Favourite Museum – If I had to choose a museum to have on my doorstep that I could go to everyday, then of all the ones I’ve been to this year I think I’d choose the National Museum of Scotland – it so perfectly combines all the museums in London’s South Kensington into one being both accessible and informative in a stunning building.
Favourite Art Exhibition – I kept thinking about this exhibition long after I went to see it – Victoriana at Guildhall Art Gallery – it had a great concept, great art, curated imaginatively and has made me admire all those involved in it. Its difficult to come up with new ideas and a huge risk to deviate from the norm, particularly for a smaller gallery, I only wish I come up with something this good one day.
Favourite Historical Exhibition – I think its because the Georgian period and the collections at the British Library fitted together so perfectly that Georgian’s Revealed managed to work so well. While it didn’t exactly shed light on the lower classes it was a trip through the fashions and dances and architecture and literature of the time all backed up with amazing material such as an original pattern book from a dress maker’s shop and books on etiquette and how to dance. Delightful.
Worst Moment – The Cuming Museum fire. After seeing it on twitter, then seeing the smoke billowing above Elephant and Castle it was so sad to hear the level of destruction and that it wasn’t just a false alarm. While a lot of the collection was safe the room at the back with the temporary ceramics exhibition was reduced to rubble.
Favourite thing overall in 2013 – The National Arts Pass – without it I could never have afforded to go to so many amazing exhibitions and museums. Thank you!