Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lord's, National Gallery part 2 and Great Britain (the play)

As a cricket fan I was alway hoping to get to Lord's while I was in London; it's not all that far away from where I was staying, but because they were playing a test there (against India) this limited my options for going to one single day - my last full day in London. So, I pencilled that into the diary as soon as I found that out (which was a bit before I left) and worked all my other plans around it.

So, I then caught a couple of tubes to get there - Charing Cross to Baker Street and then Baker Street to St John's Wood, and then walked the rest of the way to the grounds. Because there was a game on I didn't get to go to the Long Room (where there are interesting portraits and so forth) but I wasn't that concerned about that.

I went on the tour, which took us around the ground and to the museum and the media centre, telling us some of the history as we went. We also got to see the real/royal tennis court; I didn't even know they had one there.

We even saw some of the match, which was the MCC team against someone I now can't remember. But batting at the time we were there was retired Indian star Rahul Dravid, who very kindly hit a cracking cover drive for four while we were watching. I didn't stick around for long afterwards, though; I needed to get back to the National Gallery to see the bits I didn't see last time.

Some photos of Lord's:

Oh, and the street sign isn't directly related to Lord's; it's just near it. I found it amusing that they really do refer to 'the north' in such a way. Apparently there are signs with 'the south' as well, but I haven't seen any yet - probably haven't been north enough yes - I've really only travelled west of London.

So, back to the NPG for the 13th-15th century section.

The earliest works in the section are (unsurprisingly) almost entirely religious in nature. They've got a Leonardo da Vinci sketch of the Madonna & Child. The tempera is everywhere, and there's lots of Van Eyck, though they've got one of his most famous non-religious paintings, The Arnolfini Portrait (which I always think of as 'the one with the guy in the huge hat'), which was probably the first painting outside the super-famous (Mona Lisa, Monet, Van Gogh's stuff etc.) I'd ever known the name of - back in the early 90s a friend at uni was studying art and she had a print out of it on her wall, and I asked about it.

They've got another Leonardo da Vinci, The Virgin on the Rocks and classical mythology pictures, like Botticelli's Venus and Mars. There's a painting of Coriolanus - the same guy the Shakespeare play is about - by Signorelli. There's a Bellini picture of the Doge (the Venetian statesman, not the Shiba Inu dog meme - though I kept thinking of that and giggling; wow, much Venice, very political power).

There's a Hieronymous Bosch, Christ Mocked, and Albrecht Dürer's Saint Jerome (he's someone who shows up a lot, too; breast-beating with a stone is of similar appeal to being shot with arrows, apparently), and I finished it off by appreciating Holbein's portraits of Christina of Denmark and Erasmus. And then, after looking at some unfinished Michelangelos, I was done.

Later it was back across the Waterloo Bridge to South Bank later that night to see Great Britain at the National Theatre - my final show for London. And it was great - Billie Piper was excellent; she's got a really commanding stage presence - and it also featured actors I've seen in other things, like Dermot Crowley; he's most well-known for being Luther's superior (or 'Guv', as they call it) in the second and third series of Luther. He's very good in that and he was very good in this.

Biting, biting satire. It perhaps ran a little long, but it was still funny the whole way through.

And that was my last night in London. I felt more than a little sad about that; I'd become very comfortable here with my starting to know where things were and how the tube worked and all that. Here's hoping I don't forget all that before the next time I'm here.

No comments:

Post a Comment