Enthusiasms

Containing whatever I enthuse over

Room A at the National Gallery

Posted by clissold345 on December 1, 2006

Room A at the National Gallery in London contains hundreds of close-packed pictures. These are the reject pictures, the ones that the gallery doesn’t have space to display elsewhere. If I look at these pictures I have to make up my own mind about them. The labels don’t tell me what to think. Crowds of tourists don’t direct me to the masterpieces amongst them. It’s thought-provoking to see a Botticelli displayed beside a “Workshop of Botticelli”? Can I see why the second has been labelled “Workshop of Botticelli”? In Room A you’ll also find paintings by Signorelli, Sebastiano del Piombo, Sodoma, Honthorst, Hooch, and many others.

One of my favourite pictures in Room A is “The Story of Papirius” by Domenico Beccafumi. The figures are often lively and graceful, there are strong contrasts of light and shade under the arch, and the trees are strangely fragile.

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