Friday, 3 June 2011
Don't Rain on my Parade!
I had, in fact, gone specifically to see the Jan Gossaert exhibition at the National Gallery. I love the Flemish artists of this period (early sixteenth century), especially the wonderful portraits that they painted of both their aristocratic patrons and some of the more mercantile burghers who employed them. This chap, keeping very careful note of all the financial comings and goings in his business, is a banker. I would love to know what his filing system was like. Could he just reach up and find the appropriate note that told you by how much you were overdrawn without even looking. I bet he could. Look at that face. You weren't going to put anything over that gentleman, were you?
But the whole expedition had clearly gone to my head because I kept seeing all sorts of things that I suspect a serious minded art critic would not have agreed with nor approved of. For example, there is a wonderful cartoon of Adam and Eve in which it is absolutely obvious from the way in which Eve is supporting him that Adam has taken all the apples from the Tree of Knowledge and turned them into high octane cider. What's more, he's drunk it all!
Then there is a canvas of St Luke painting his vision of the Virgin and Child and I am seriously worried about what one little cherub sitting at Mary's feet is up to. What need has he to have his hands up Mary's skirt, I ask myself. Actually, I probably don't want to know the answer.
If you ever have the chance to go to Fortnum and Mason for afternoon tea then do take out a mortgage and partake. (And you definitely do 'partake', any other verb simply wouldn't meet the circumstances.) Nothing else rivals one of their own individual blends served in a silver plated tea-pot and accompanied by homemade scones, jam and clotted cream. I was very good and stuck at that. But if you want to you can go the whole way and add sandwiches and a slice of one of their wonderful cakes. You won't want to face either your bank manager or the bathroom scales in the immediate future but believe me it will be worth it.
I hope this isn't going to be a one off visit to London. I just woke up that morning and knew that I could try and I suspect that for the moment that is going to have to be the way I do it. Planning in advance is likely to hype up my adrenaline levels and undermine me before I start. But it's a beginning and I intend to build on it.