Yesterday was Ann’s birthday, so after a late breakfast we made our way by train and tube to the National Gallery to visit the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition. We bought our tickets several weeks ago and paid the cover price but we gather that such is the demand that for the daily tickets people are queuing from 6.00 a.m. for up to 3 hours to get one of the few daily tickets available. On E-Bay today I saw tickets being offered form £125 to £300.
I have to say that the exhibition is just wonderful and to see, in the same room, the two versions of The Virgin of the Rocks, one owned by the Musee du Louvre, the other by the National Gallery is just breath taking. I doubt whether it will ever by possible to gather together again such a collection of da Vinci’s works. For me the highlight was The Burlington House Cartoon where the Virgin is pictured seated on the lap of her mother St. Anne with the baby Jesus and the infant St. John, drawn in charcoal and white chalk.
It was also interesting to see Christ as Salvator Mundi which has recently been restored and acknowledge as a da Vinci masterpiece. We then went to the separate exhibition in the Sunley Room which featured “The Last Supper” which within 20 years of painting was judged to be ruined due to the technique used by Da Vinci. Fortunately a full-scale copy was made by a sympathetic pupil prior to the original deteriorating and this was a great help during restoration work which was carried out in Milan over a 20 year period from 1978 – 1998 and is now available to view by pre-booked tickets.
We both thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition and after a brief wander round the Constable pictures made our way to Oxford Street for a little shopping and then to Spaghettis House for dinner.