Saturday, April 16, 2011

Looks Like It's The Met For Me

My 'congratulatory' text to Ian on winning Mastermind:

"Very very well done, ian. I scored 17 on your SS. I didn't get the Piombo apple Q. I did, however, go 'ahem' when you said every important painter is represented. The NG's lack of a Simone Martini, Hugo van der Goes or Georges de la Tour (nevermind lesser lights like Arcimboldo + Bazille) popped into my head immediately. And if the two Giorgiones are Giorgiones then I'm the King of Bhutan. My god. I've turned into such an insane art geek"

So a regulation congrats text that turned into a full blown critique of our nation's paintings collection, which despite my pointing out its relatively minor gaps (I've also read that we're missing a really seminal Gauguin), is probably - in terms of real quality - the most comprehensive/representative collection of 13th-19th century Western European paintings in the world.

The Prado, for instance, hasn't got a single Hals or Vermeer - the NG has eight and two respectively, and a single (admittedly great) Rembrandt against our score of paintings, while the Louvre is missing such key Italian primitives as Masaccio and Duccio. Also I don't believe the Louvre even have any Altdorfers or Elsheimers and its minor pair of Velazquezes are probably 'workshop of' paintings; the NG has a great mixture of nine works, including the Spaniard's only surviving nude (you know which one). I could go on, but I have a train to catch. And like I said ... 'insane art geek' - the kind that managed to visit five art museums in three different cities during my recent Amsterdam stag do weekend (the high culture, as it were, bookended the drinking/visiting the Red Light District bit when everyone had as yet not arrived or departed).


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