An Old Woman ('The Ugly Duchess'), about 1513, by Quinten Massys. I'm as much a sucker for classically beautiful Renaissance paintings as anyone, when a woman's skin glistens like alabaster and her gown seems to catch the light just so. But I also love the stranger pieces, like Massys's duchess at right or Arcimboldo's rendering of Rudolph II as a stack of produce. This fall London's National Gallery will stage a showing of Renaissance portraits that will include those paintings as well as work by the likes of Botticelli, Raphael, and Dürer. New director Nicholas Penny says the intention wasn't necessarily to create lines of visitors around Trafalgar Square, though the exhibition will undoubtedly rake it in:
Asked whether the show, which opens on October 15, was pitched as a blockbuster, Penny said: "Some exhibitions are planned with the intention of being popular, and some are planned with the intention of being good. This is planned with the intention of being good."
The Guardian has a preview of the exhibition here. Portrait of a Lady with Spindle and Distaff by Maerten van Heemskerck looks a lot like Scarlett Johansson to me, and I totally blame that dumb Girl with a Pearl Earring movie.
In other news, it's time for me to unplug my computer for a few days and go run around London myself. I still have to write some public service announcements for KALX (and pack) before I can go, but I just fortified myself with a gorgeous sweet potato and kale soup I made from the remnants of my last Eatwell box, so I'm ready to power through. I'll see you on the other side!