Saturday, 9 October 2010

Pre-Raphaelites at Ashmolean

If anyone is anywhere near Oxford over the coming months the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Ashmolean museum is worth checking out. If you like that sort of thing, it will be just the sort of thing you like. Focusses on the Italian subjects chosen by the likes of Rossetti, Hunt, Burne Jones and Rushkin and Noel Paton. Some brilliant paintings and drawings to be seen. One of the paintings that is really striking in the flesh is Burne-Jones' 'Fall of Lucifer', which anticipates the art movements and the tragic history of later centuries and is full of defiant melancholia. Another impressive exhibit was 'Dante meditating on Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta'.

The encounter with the shades of Paolo and Francesca is one of my favourite parts of the Divine Comedy, and is a subject I've attempted once myself in a picture. other things in the expo that were a pleasure to see were Italian landcapes and architecutal drawings by various artists (especially Ruskin in the latter case) which reminded me of my own visits to Venice, Verona and Florence.

Also had a brief look at the rest of the museum, which I haven't been too since I was little. Unfortunately the two main Egyptian galleries were closed for refurbishmet, which was disappointing especially as I'm having a bit of an Egyptian phase.

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