Me and D visited the National Gallery to check out the Leonardo exhibition a few weeks ago. We bought the tickets early, as in when they went on sale over the internet, so we didn’t have to queue up like the plebs, shuffling along, one metre every minute. I detest queuing, not having to queue is one of my favourite hobbies, although I did have to queue in the Next Sale yesterday and that was shit. So it was marvellous to glide through the magnificent doors, with the sweaty masses to our right… and be directed… to another queue! A shorter one however, just for our ticket time slot. So that was cool. It was only 5 minutes waiting.
That morning we also went to the Wolseley for Eggs Benedict and a fruit salad containing the most endangered fruits known to mankind, killed, skinned and diced in a silver bowl and splurged with an agreeable jus. We also saw Marc Almond in there, buttering his toast. But I have no further anecdotes about him or the Wolseley. It’s just to set the scene that it was a lovely day out, sort of a late birthday celebration for me (even though my birthday was months before).
So Leonardo and his exhibition. It was hyped to the max, a once in a lifetime. And yes, it was impressive. Here was an artist, a scientist, a draughtsman, an inventor and a genius. They’d gathered his work and work of his contemporaries from all around the world. We’ll probably never see the light of it again, certainly not in that magnitude. What impressed me as well was that the National Gallery had reduced the amount of people that could enter per timed slot. The Guardian paints a picture of serenity and calm, of some chim-chimeny love in where everyone is considerate. And to some degree, this was true… as we hate getting jostled by wankers. You need time to get close and study as a lot of his work on show was of small size and incredible detail. For example, two works owned by the Queen and lent to the exhibition :
A Man Tricked by Gypsies (c1493), Pen and ink, 26.0 x 20.5 cm – (i.e Small!). Look at the detail in their expressions, the grotesques leers and snarls.
Studies of the human skull, 1489, Pen and ink on paper, 29 x 20 cm
Which leads me onto Gallery Rage. How to turn situations which would otherwise be irritating, to your advantage.
You are always going to get people with no sense of spacial awareness or respect for their fellow human beings. People who blunder around a gallery space, shoving their bag or backside into you, or just keep standing in the way with a dopey bollocks expression plastered over their faces.
Therefore, two handy tips. It really is quite fun and you should test yourself to see how far you can push it. Don’t do anything to spoil your enjoyment of the art however, just so your nemesis knows that they are an annoyingly ignorant or selfish shit.
1) When someone walks right in front of you and blocks your view of the art, blow gently on their ear. This really works. They usually move as I can imagine this would be really uncomfortable.
2) If someone shoves past you without saying “excuse me” or if they stand in your way and option 1) doesn’t work. Then you should adopt their methods against them. Immediately shove past them and stand right in front of them obscuring their view of whatever they are looking at.
3) If you are brave, do it wherever they move to. They’ll get the message and leave you alone.
4) You could just ask them to politely move of course (tut optional), but this isn’t as much fun.
Now use your loaf, if you see someone is 95 and clearly isn’t the most lucid, then don’t just start shoving over pensioners, then piledriving them, because of some perceived slight. And please do not throw any children out of the window. Pick your targets appropriately. Just cause a little bit of annoyance, don’t earn yourself a criminal record for knocking out an old man, then finding out it’s Brian Sewell.
And whatever you do, don’t smash a priceless painting over the head of someone who has annoyed you.
Finally, one of the most beautiful paintings I’ve ever seen (So I don’t leave you with any hint of bitterness).
It’s worth going to the exhibition just for this. I’ve been to the Louvre and I’ve never understood the fuss over the Mona Lisa, it’s small, she’s a bit of a sourpuss (to me anyway, enigmatic my arse!) so Lady With An Ermine is a far superior work. She is just beautiful.