A show of the Tate's collection of Turner paintings opened Friday, and Silvia and I went to check it out. The exhibition was brilliantly set up with full paintings side-by-side with studies, and smaller watercolors set up in vitrines. I've seen only a couple of Turners in person and they just explode. The layering and melty, washy paint is hard to render photographically, and as Turner ages his work takes on this hard to reproduce, abstract quality. Incredibly beautiful to look at, and I'll go with Ariel once he comes back from Europe.
A word about The National Gallery: it has to be the best place in Beijing for traveling shows and the worst place for permanent collections. With few exceptions, the work is pointless, tacky and Communist-friendly, like really 80s Chinese ink paintings of tigers hidden in bamboo, Chinese dignitaries shaking hands (these I slightly love) or minority children cavorting in some idyllic place. However, they've organized some great traveling exhibitions including a show of the history of American painting, a Goya show, a "recreation" of the Buddhist caves of western China, etc.