To Madrid for a few days to see The Wyeths and the Spanish Realists exhibition at the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum. It was, for me, perhaps the best double-bill ever. It confirmed my belief ‘Snow Flurries’ by Andrew Wyeth is my favourite all landscape paintings. His dry-brush watercolour, ‘Flock of Crows’ - a study for the same - I find simply heart-breaking. Happily, I'm not afflicted by Stendahl syndrome, the psychosomatic condition involving rapid heartbeat, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations, allegedly occurring when individuals become exposed to objects, artworks, or phenomena of great beauty. But if I were, I'm sure these two would set me off. Of the Spanish Realists, Antonio López García has long been my main man. We also popped into the Prado. I ignored the other 200,000 exhibits and sought out, ‘Judith at the Banquet of Holofernes’ by Rembrandt. I ‘collect’ Rembrandts, in a manner of speaking. This is one of the gentleman's finest. It’s up there with his ‘Danaë’ in the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. Inexplicable to me how the human hand can do such work.
Author, author, I hear you cry. Well, here goes. I come from haunts of coot and hern, I make a sudden sally… Hang on that’s not me, that’s Tennyson. Oops! Wrong copy, sorree. I’m James Kelso – and, actually, do you know what, I feel a tad awkward writing this sort of self-puffery. So, if it’s okay with you, can we leave it there? Thank you. I knew you’d understand. Browse on, McDuff.