Drawings and Paintings by French Masters from the Hermitage Somerset House London

From: Jasper
Category: Exhibitions
Date: 21 November 2001


Beware shows with Drawing or Ceramics or Furniture in their title, they usually have more of the boring stuff than the co-billed painting. As Matisse said drawing is painting with limited means, and as such is ok as far as it goes, and infinitely better than ceramics, excluding some rococo and old oriental stuff which can be pretty.

The geriatrics were plentiful, but the tourists minimal, and I sense a rough landing in the economy unless more Yanks get over hear to look at beautiful drawings. Boucher's landscape painting was outstanding, a little figure in a red coat surrounded by greenery, and his drawing of a woman with big eyes satisfying, unlike the grisly Greuze who he is shacked up with by way of contrast, Greuze's just not as good, subject irrelevant.

Watteau stars as usual, 1684-1721, 37 years not wasted, some trees and sketches for decorative panels that you want to have been made. Poussin and Lorrain are there and Ingres too: two identically posed sitters, backing up old Hockney's optic theories. Matisse a drawing of a woman kissing her wrist perfectly, and Picasso's painting of a young man, used to hate his sentimental acrobatics but now contrarily prefer them to his later histrionics.

Not much but enough real beauty, just a faint feeling of dissatisfaction because we're used to 100% beef, but salad can still satisfy.

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