Why not, I think and sooner than I can realise I see myself spending ten bucks for an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. Sure there are so many museums and galleries in London which are free, but maybe there is really something to see here, something which is worth some investment.
The academy describes him as “an artist in great demand across Enlightenment Europe and beyond. An eccentric and distinctive portraitist, his work conjures up the magnificence and cultural curiosity of the age in vividly lifelike detail.”
There are a couple of rooms which show Lionards work over the course of his life, how he became and established as one of the best portraitist of the 18th century. Personally, what I found most fascinating is the fact that the facial expressions of people long dead were still speaking to me. I look at the paintings and wonder what their thoughts must have been, how their world must have been.
Obviously the clothing was different, for example woman wearing puffy dresses and men looking like generals and kings. But in addition you can see these “wow” or “other” moments, those things which still exist today as they did back then.
For example in room V you will find 2 paintings, one showing a woman and one a man and they are looking at each other. She is wearing something which looks like a watch from the distance but which in fact is a painting of her husband. And he is wearing a ring which is a painting of her. Not only their gazing at each other and images they carry with them, but also something else, something which evokes the feeling sphere within me, triggered by their paintings. Love?
I look at the visitors of this exhibitions and most of them are older maybe 40-60 and I wonder why it is that there are no younger people here. Maybe they are all shopping on Oxford Street.
Then I’m done, heading for some tea and cake at Fortnum & Mason at the other side of the street. London, I like you a lot.