Treasures of Budapest – Royal Academy
Not so busy blockbuster as it’s about a collection, not an artist or movement, but well worth seeing. You get used to seeing familiar paintings by familiar artists. Here, however, everything is familiar but new. Tucked away in Budapest, most people will not have seen these paintings, drawings and sculptures.
It is, in essence a representative sample from the history of western art but the whole show really comes to life in Rooms 6 & 7 with the drawings and portraiture. There are some really stunning paintings - a couple of magnificent Goyas, Jan Lievens Half Girl, a magnificent Franz Hals (more restrained than usual in pose but wild, wild brushstrokes) and the final surprise– Two Women Embracing by Schiele. The two Leonardo drawings are worth it in themselves, studies for the famous Battle of Anghiari. The three faces are in extreme poses in the heat of battle, mouth ajar and eyes full of aggression. Mid-morning on a Monday, the gallery had no more than a scattering of people - bliss.