Well done if you got past the title of today’s blog! It’s not as bad as it sounds. We went on an Art Day yesterday, to recharge ours souls and to get challenged by stuff we don’t necessarily like. First we went up to HOME and then across Town to Manchester Art Gallery and saw some wonderful, amazing, inspiring pieces. We also saw things that made us tired and made us wonder if someone, somewhere, was just messing with us.
We always start at the back of Manchester Art Gallery, because that’s where most of the new exhibitions are, and then cross the bridge to the old section’s middle level, where the longer term, more classical pieces live. There’s a point, two steps through the door, when I just stop, stunned, every time. Right in front of me, against a beautiful blue wall, is William Holman Hunt’s painting – The Shadow of Death. It’s like being slapped in the face (in a good way). It doesn’t matter how many times I see it, it’s like seeing it for the first time. I tend to stand for quite a while, just soaking up it’s beauty, and then I go a bit closer and scan it, section by section; I always find a new detail.
Yesterday I did the same. It takes me a while to notice that there are any other paintings and then I start to wander round. That’s no disrespect for the other artworks – there’s some very powerful images, it’s just for me, The Shadow of Death overwhelms everything else. After I’d looked at all the other stuff and took a few photos, I returned to Holman Hunts painting. On the bench in front was a young man doing the same thing I do. He looked like a younger version of me (a much younger version). I took a picture of him and them went over to ask if I could use it for my blog. He said, “That’s cool, mate.”