A couple of weeks ago I had to go to London for a meeting so thought it a perfect opportunity to visit the “Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse” exhibition, at the Royal Academy of Arts.
It was absolutely jam-packed… Yes, with people, but mostly by the many ginormous paintings of gardens. Including the era of the Impressionists, many were chocolate-box saccharine or heaving with gaudy pastel chrysanthemums, but just as many really took my breath away. In a good way. (here’s a post on 6 of the best…) I thought the best ones were as much about a vast path, or ‘blank’ space, as they were about flowers and foliage.
Vibrant, sunny, hot… All the gardens seemed to stir the senses in a way only countries whose skirts graze the Mediterranean do. Just what you need on a cool March day in Piccadilly.
As photography is verboten, I headed to the gallery shop (as you do) to get a couple of postcards for the mantelpiece… Postcards of large paintings are always disappointing, aren’t they? My favourite painting of “Nasturtiums” by Gustave Caillebotte had the most gorgeous pink-mauve background, which turned out to be dishwater-grey on the postcard. But never mind.
Once lured into the shop, and still on an amateur-art-critic ‘high’, I was seduced into parting with more money and came away with a delightful children’s book about Monet, and a rather fetching bag, printed with an illustration of flowers from the same book. I decided that new interpretations of old art, rather than poor reproductions, make much better souvenirs.
The exhibition ends on the 20th April. Due to its huge popularity the remaining tickets can only be pre-ordered for certain dates/time slots. Please visit the RA website first if you are interested in going.