Recently I visited the wonderful exhibition, Fra Angelico et les Maîtres de la Lumière, at the delightful Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris. Paintings have been collected from many sources to produce an exhilarating experience for the viewer. At first my heart sank as I saw the immense queue in the street waiting to gain entry. I wondered why so many people wanted to see such an esoteric exhibition, but this was France and Paris.
After an hour and a half shuffling very slowly forward, I finally gained entry to the museum and exhibition. The Musée Jacquemart-André is almost an exact equivalent of possibly my favourite place, the Wallace Collection in London, an elegant former private residence.
Fresh and modern
The first impression of his paintings, which I know well from illustrations, but only a few in real life, was the utter blaze of colour and light. Some of the works were dazzling in their sumptuous reds, golds and lapis lazuli, a reflection of the wealth of his patrons. Compositionally Fra Angelico is a master creating interest, respect and admiration for his mostly religious subjects. Considering that nearly all the works were painted in tempera in the fifteenth century, it is astonishing how fresh and modern they appeared.
Apart from the over crowding of the small galleries, this was one of the most stunning exhibitions I have seen and a wonderful counter to the crudity and brashness of so much we see and hear today. Go and see it Mr. Saatchi, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and friends.
Click here to contact Jonathan Riley, paintings specialist at Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent.
- Posted by Jonathan Riley