Monday, 23 March 2009

Home Sweet Home: gorging on exhibitions.


Well, I've been crap this weekend... I think going backwards and forwards between Cam and London means I've got a bit caught up in stuff other than blogging. So I'll try to be more regular - even though I won't have pretty photographs most of the time.

Anyway, yesterday I managed a day of exhibition binging: the Royal Academy in the morning for the last day of the Byzantium exhibition and the Palladio one, then to the Tate Britain to the Van Dyck in Britain exhibition...

I barely rolled out of bed in time for my slot at the RA, but just in time I ran through the doors to a really rather wonderful collection. In honesty, it took me almost 2 hours to go through, which may well be a new record for me. And considering how little info there was on the labels, it was one hell of a stuffed-to-the-gunnels exhibition! 
I am a BIG church-history buff, and being able to get up close and personal with some of this stuff was amazing... I LOVED the display of icons - especially the huge, 14th century silver gilted ones, and the last room which was filled with icons from the monastery of St Catherine, Sinai. The colours were so inspiring and I just wanted to stay there forever... 

The lighting is really low and mysterious, and right at the beginning the curators have explained that there is so little that we know about Byzantine culture, thus, I suppose, the lack of info on the labels - which was frustrating at times...

My favourite pieces was an icon of St Michael that was enamelled and covered in precious gems. The central figure was almost like a doll, in that it came forth from the icon; in my mind, ready to do battle. Amazing workmanship. It makes me wanna play "dress-the-archangel" with some action men and my sewing machine... (Damn this dissertation!) But HOW KWL is his tunic?!?!


Oh, and the last piece in this huge exhibition was rather special too - it was an illuminated manuscript of the heavenly ladder (The Ladder of Divine Ascent). The picture's a little crappy, but I loved this... The colours were so vibrant and I'm feeling dressing like one of those little black devils for the next fancy dress party I go to. Hehe.

And there was also some pretty darn cute jewellery!

When I was done in there, despite my buggered ankle complaining about the high heels I was tramping around in, I wandered straight on to the Palladio exhibition. Now this one was much lighter and airier, and mostly drawings and models of these wonderful buildings... Now my main interest is religious buildings, so there was plenty for me to get excited about, though I have to admit, I could have done with less information overload! (Exactly the opposite of the Byzantium exhibition lol.)
The photos and drawings were beautiful though, and after the dark mysteriousness of the Byzantium exhibition it was nice to look at airy spaces and little models of churches and monasteries! Love architecture, though there were perhaps too many drawings, as I was quite tired and by this point had been in the RA for about 3.5 hours... Boy was I glad to get out and to the Tate...

Going to the Tate was a massive mission as the train line which takes you there was out... But I did have a great time getting there. I wandered past the Houses of Parliament, wandered around "Jewel Tower" which was part of the medieval palace complex, and skipped through a park which had a wierd and colourful pagoda in. Lots of fun.

The Van Dyk exhibition was EXCELLENT... Just enough info and gorgeous paintings. And I could spend hours in the members room, sipping tea hehe.

The colours in the paintings were so wondrous, I spent HOURS in there, staring at the painting of the fabrics and the wistful looks in peoples' eyes. Yum.


They also had a few paintings 'inspired' by Van Dyck's work, and I particularly loved this portrait of Mrs Sandys by de Lazlo. How graceful is she!?!?

So all in all, a great, but knackering day. And it was mothers' day, and I didn't see my mum at all until the evening when I was passed out on the sofa with a migraine. Ooooops! Sorry mum...

I tried to take a few photos using my crappy little point and click on timer, but I looked a bit of an idiot... If you can see the pics, I was wearing my London-tough-garb - black cheap monday jeans, old massive I Love Firenze cat teeshirt, 101 dalmations silk scarf, porcelain pendant and Harley Mechanics jacket... The pics are of the two most inspiring bits of my-home-patch I passed. Noone ever notices the little pagoda by Lambeth Palace (Westminster) but it's so pretty, and got to love that architecture :-D

Right. I should have been in bed HOURS ago...

Xxxc

11 comments:

Alyssa said...

ooo, i got to go to london a few years back for band... i wish i had seen that pagoda! i think my eyes hurt by the end of that trip, i stared at all the buildings so much, lol. nothing like that back here. and it seems wherever i live its never near an exciting museum or gallery... i'm jealous :)
i'm also jealous of your scarf. i wish i had one that cool =D

FindCottage.ca said...

Hey lovely!
Well...that sound like a fun weekend:) I do appreciate art very much, but I don't know how of it, nevertheless, I'd love to see all those beautiful paintings.
Hope you get some well deserved rest!
xoxo
Mimi
http://style.la-mimi.com

Karen said...

thank you for the sweet comment :)
where i live there are no interesting buildings or anything of that sort.. europe is where it is at
- Karen

Liberty London Girl said...

Jealous, much? I SO wanted to see the Byzantium exhibit. I was a school history star and managed to get away with specialising in ecclesiastical history practically all the way through (which is why I ended up reading theology). You'd LOVE the Met BTW They have an entire, ceiling skimming reredos from Spain LLGxx

captivateme.wordpress said...

what an interesting post! Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend :-) I love the de Lazlo portrait in particular...beautiful.

Imelda Matt - The Despotic Queen of Shoes said...

I love the expression 'stuffed-to-the-gunnels', sounds like a jam packed weekend.

Yuka said...

omg how funny. last weekend i had to write a report for my suvey of western art class and we had to go to the museum and i wrote about two pieces of byzantine art. its my favorite type of art. so pretty and embellished. :)

WendyB said...

I've been dying to do some Byzantium-inspired jewelry.

indigotangerine said...

I really need to get out to a gallary some time soon, i'm in need of some inspiration.
-indigo

Pretty Little Pictures said...

Sounds like you had a lovely weekend!! I so can't wait to visit London and its galleries :)

Tabby said...

I am so pissed off at myself for not going to the Byzantium exhibition! It's one of those things I kept meaning to do and never getting round to it. My degree was in eastern mediteraean history which involved large amounts of byzantine history. I have seen a seen byzantine art in the museums of Athens and the gold and richness of it all is really astounding. Glad you enjoyed it!