Two major exhibitions close this weekend, each devoted to a major English artist but from different ages.
The Dulwich Picture Gallery has been hosting a survey of the early career of the darling of Catholic middle class England: Graham Sutherland.
The blurb reads "Like its predecessors devoted to John Piper and Henry Moore, [this exhibition] revisits a major figure from a now somewhat neglected generation who dominated the British art scene in the 1930s and 1940s."
To put it slightly more succinctly the show explores the early part of his career up to 1950 - essentially his better years as a doyen of the Neo-Romantic landscape and as an official war artist before he left England for the South of France and started drawing frogs n' bats and other crap - don't mention the society portraits in luminescent green.
It is a nicely put together show with beautiful ink and gouache studies, as well as full scale oils. It also has a superbly illustrated catalogue that will look just dandy on your coffee table for when you mum visits.
Down in the dungeons of the National Gallery is another delight that should not be missed - Stubbs and the Horse. Fear not if you think portraits of horses backsides are not your thing. Here's the blurb:
The exhibition explores the social, cultural and intellectual environment in which they were produced, providing a fascinating insight into the importance of the horse in 18th-century British culture.
It features paintings of horses attacked by lions and his classically inspired, frieze-like studies of mares and foals at stud farms, as well as riding portraits, conversation-pieces and scenes from the stableyard and racecourse.
Not that you need to be told, but there are some beautiful paintings in this show all centered around one of the nations favorites: WhistleJacket. An accomplished anatomist Stubbs has a claim to being the greatest artist-scientist since Leonardo and some of the anatomical drawings on show are still to be bettered in today's modern science journals.
It is just a shame, as with most National Gallery shows these days, that the exhibition is housed down in the murky depths of the Sainsburys wing - a space which generally does not do such exhibitions justice and offers no natural light.