Michelangelo exhibit in London

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Mar 31st, 2006, 03:47 PM
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Michelangelo exhibit in London

Has anyone had time to see the Michelangelo
exhibit at the British Museum?
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Mar 31st, 2006, 11:54 PM
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Not yet - more about it here:
http://tinyurl.com/nk9xk
and here:
http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/mi...elo/index.html
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Apr 2nd, 2006, 11:48 PM
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The problem isn't finding the time to see it: it's finding A time, since it's booking up quite quickly. But you can pre-reserve on the web.

It might help to understand what this exhibition isn't. It's not the definitive global blockbuster on Michelangelo's drawings: it's just a selection of what's in the archives of the BM, the Ashmolean and the Teyler in Haarlem (I confess. I hadn't either), with a bit of computer graphic wizardry and a couple of artefacts from the V+A and the British Library to add colour. It doesn't even include anything from the Royal Collection, so methinks the business model is showing here. That said, there's still more than enough drawings here for most people's attention spans.

It's quite crowded (though the dominatrices managing the timed ticket system keep the problem under control), the drawings are fairly small and the lighting obviously has to be subdued: it's worth knowing that if you go through the show pacily, the layout means you get get back to "Start here" from the shop at the end. Work this cleverly, and you can start again after the rush has died down, since almost everyone with, say, a 1020 ticket hits the first section at 1021.

If you know a lot about Michelangelo, this is a great chance to see things juxtaposed that are usually a long way from each other, though the drawings from the BM and Ashmolean collections can be seen any time they're not in exhibitions like this, free.

If you don't know much about him, or have just picked up stuff by osmosis from wandering round Rome, Florence and those underlit bits you normally give a miss to in major museums, the amount of data, the smallness of many drawings and the pressing crowd might be overwhelming. I'll own up to being in this group, and I found it difficult to take it all in properly. Michelangelo really didn't do drawing for its own sake: almost everything on show here is a working drawing for something else. So, while the drawings are stunning bits of craftsmanship, you really do appreciate them more if you understand what they're for, and the exhibition itself isn't a very conducive place to absorb the necessary background. But the monitors that let you select a drawing and watch it morph into a bit of the Sistine Chapel are great fun.

But it is an unusual opportunity to pick up an awful lot about Michelangelo at one go, painlessly, so I'm going back after I've read the catalogue (£25 in paperback, and really well worth every penny) properly, and I'd recommend joining the Friends to manage the cost of all this. If you read slowly, there's a Readers Digest-style version on sale at £9.99, though it struck me as too simplified to help you much in the exhibition. The dvd (Lord, that business model really IS showing, isn't it?) is available online, as well as from Amazon, and might be the quickest way for some people to get the necessary background if they can only see the exhibition once. Or read the catalogue beforehand.

But, like practically all drawing exhibitions, it can be hard work. A good antidote is the newly-opened Cartoon Museum (www.cartooncentre.com/, round the corner in Little Russell St (same building as the Pizza Express). Unusually for London, it's not actually a museum of cartoons: it's a museum of British cartoons (insularity normally isn't our thing, and we really don't dominate the cartoon industry in quite the way many self-satisfied British journalists think we do). Although it's a bit uncritical about the usual suspects (Hogarth, Vicky, Zac, Reg Smythe, Giles and the spectacularly unentertaining Jane and Modesty Blaise), there are a lot of good jokes (not Michelangelo's strongest suit) and the lighting's a lot easier to cope with than the BM.

It's also THE definitive guide to the subconscious of middle-aged, middle-class Britons. For which, of course, the central texts are Korky, Dan Dare, Lord Snooty, Desperate Dan and the real (DC Thomson) Dennis the Menace. All adequately covered here, and a far better introduction to our psyche than Monty Python or Jane Austen. Incidentally, the difference between our Dennis the Menace and the later, sacchariney, American TV series probably summarises the difference between British and American mindsets perfectly.

Incomprehensibly, though, there's no Bill Tidy. And a cartoon museum without the Fosdykes is like a Michelangelo exhibition without anything from the Royal Collection.
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 02:34 AM
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I am somehow reminded of Pandora's Box......
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 02:35 AM
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But I'm going to see the exhibit nonetheless.
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 04:08 AM
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They got any Giles in that there museum Cotswold Mickey?
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 05:10 AM
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One. Amazingly unfunny.

Be honest now. You still often find old Gileses in other people's loos. But when was the last time you actually laughed at one?

Worse still: the Dennis the Menaces are all pre-Gnasher.
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 05:44 AM
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Pre Gnasher? The horror! I haven’t actually seen a Giles in years – not even in an Oxfam shop. I liked his granny though – and his drawings of highland cows.

I was more of a Dan Dare man myself.
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 06:41 AM
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They've got Dan Dare. And the Mekon.
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 07:05 AM
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That's next saturday sorted out then.

I assume it's got all the usual suspects - Gilray, Bateman etc?
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Apr 5th, 2006, 02:26 AM
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Thanks for the information. I am curious about the other museum as well.
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