Well, I enjoyed my 'Silly Saturday' (see below) but in a rather unexpected way. I have never walked through the City of London before, especially at a weekend. It is a revelation and I urge anyone with an idle hour or three to try it, particularly when the sun is shining as it was yesterday. Of course, I was following a route specified by The Globe Theatre in order to allow sundry actors, disguised as a jilted bridegroom, a down-and-out meths drinker, a beggar complete with dog, an art student, a Big Issue seller and all, to leap out at me and recite a Shakespearean sonnet in honour of his birthday. However, if you arm yourself with a good guide book, I am sure you will discover even more delights than I did. And it is still a slight shock to me that London in the sunshine is a beautiful city.
Lunch at The Globe was followed by a taxi to the British Museum and the exhibition of Michelangelo's drawings. It was downhill from that point on! Sorry everyone, but I just don't get it with Italian renaissance art. A few years ago I holidayed in Tuscany and spent a day trudging through every gallery in the Uffizi museum. The only three paintings I admired were by Rembrandt! As for the rest, if I never see another virgin, ecstatic or demure (the difference is that the former cast their eyes up, and the latter, down; but in all other respects they are uindistinguishable), it will be too soon. As for the men, well, that brings me to Michelangelo who was, I regret to say, rather too fond of them for his own good. Thus, at this exhibition we saw virtually only men, nearly all naked, and bearing a remarkable similarity to a young 'Arnie' Schwarzenegger. The only drawing of a lady that I saw looked like a bloke with tits and legs like Bobbie Charlton. To be fair, these were drawings, not the finished article, but I've seen some of the finished articles elsewhere, and they look exactly like the drawings - very old men with long white beards but somehow with bodies like, well, just like 'Arnie's'. And all of them bent and twisted into postures to show off their musculature, just like, sorry, 'Arnie'! There were no thin men, no fat men, no ordinary men. It was a sort of non-stop homosexual fantasy. The only slight comfort to me was the fact that all these colossi had very titchy 'willies' which made me feel better about myself!
This exhibition confirmed my suspicion that the Italian renaissance merely produced 'gangster art'. You can imagine a conversation something like this:
Pope Benny Dicktus: 'Ey, Mikey, Mikey, the boys tell me them Medici brothers 'ave gotta noo painting by that Lennie the Vinci and its big, like 5' by 10'. I want somethin' noo myself, but its gotta be bigger, y' unnerstan' what I'm sayin' here, I want it real big, 15' by 25', an' make sure its all in 3-D like they do it these days, an' put some o' my guys in it, they bin workin' out real hard down the gym an' they're lookin' good - and don't forget the goils, too, but none o' that sexy stuff, I want class, so cover the tits - capisce!
Alas, between the simple beauties of the medieval line-drawers who worked without perspective and the first illustration of psychology in portrait painting by Rembrandt, there lies a horrid, garish, vulgar chasm of 'gangster art'.
Great picture of my best feature - the back of my head!
(Out of which I do not talk, Larry or N.I.B., before you say it.)
Your romantic host, clutching his red rose, and enraptured, as an ‘apparent’ beggar-lady delivers a Shakespearean sonnet. (The dog doesn’t look too impressed, but then, he’s heard it all before!)