French masterpieces at The Royal Academy London August 2001

From: Franoise
Category: Exhibitions
Date: 10 August 2001


You think you can't go back. Too much rich food or a drink that made you vomit. Upstairs, forcing myself out of the sunshine back to the mysterious things, I dismiss the other viewers casually, duds that see nothing more than famous paintings reproduced on canvas.

Matisse's Pink Nude 1935 is placed importantly on its own wall, but it detains noone for very long, too crude and boring to be good. If they were cleverer thay could see the head and breasts and arm make a little scene of hills beautiful against the big body filling the picture. The line is like many good lines calligraphic and going thick and thin, or disappearing, to define forms easily. But it is the loopy condensed head breasts that is new now.

Other swinish pearls are a Delacroix sketch swirling and elusive, a typically brilliant Cezanne mountain, some Corots grey and clumsy but asking questions still unanswered, and a Picasso blue person which reminds why everyone got so excited. Ingres attracts the crowds searching for brushstrokes but finding only ugly allegories, and the jokyey counterpoint of salon jobbers is over their heads.

Go back in. One more time, tiring and difficult pleasure, which can't but must be faced. Like morality it is easy to give up.

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