This weekend two exceptional, not to be missed exhibitions close and this Sunday, the 19th January, will be your last and final chance to catch them before they’re gone forever.
The Male Nude: Eighteenth-century Drawings from the Paris Academy
The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN
Jacques Dumont le Romain, Nude man sleeping and leaning on a rock, viewed from behind, 1742. (c) ENSBA, Paris via The Wallace Collection
With more artfully charcoaled penises and pert pencilled bottoms than you can shake a stick at, The Male Nude, which features nearly forty French drawings sketched between the late seventeenth and the late eighteenth centuries, is the first of its kind in Britain.
The exhibition is curated alongside the Wallace’s spectacular collection of eighteenth-century furniture and decorative arts, offering a thorough understanding of an artistic period when the male form was considered to be the ‘very foundation of painting and sculpture…to be mastered by any aspiring artist of the highest class.’
Francois Boucher, Study of a man lying down, an elbow leaning on the ground, 1739. (c) ENSBA, Paris via The Wallace Collection
If staring at a bunch of naked men makes you feel a little uncomfortable, don’t be put off. Come and admire the beautiful play of light and shade, the expertly crafted anatomy of the bodies, the soft, shaded lines belying the brute strength of the subjects. If that doesn’t tempt you the ticket price certainly should as admission is free.
Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700 – 1900
The V&A, South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL
Possibly Emperor Huizong, Auspicious Cranes, about 1112, Liaoning Provincial Museum. © The Liaoning Provincial Museum Collection via V&A
A vast showcase of seminal Chinese art through the ages by one of the museum powerhouses of London, Masterpieces of Chinese Painting is the kind of exhibition that comes around once in a lifetime.
Ogle at rare surviving pieces from collections around the world including over 70 of the finest paintings of incredible artistic diversity, from minuscule works by religious figures and scholars to a vast, 14-metre-long scroll.
Everything about this exhibition is epic, from the scale of work on show to the time period it spans, which charts evolving styles and subjects of painting from early objects of devotion that date back to the year 700 to Western-influenced art from the 20th century.
Chen Rong, Nine Dragons (detail), 1244, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Photograph © 2013 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston via V&A
Book your tickets on the website – it’s free for members – and arrive as early as possible to avoid the weekend exhibition elbowers.