Gifted and Castiglione: An Art Double At Queen's Gallery

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 51 months ago
Gifted and Castiglione: An Art Double At Queen's Gallery
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Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, A presumed self-portrait, late 1640s. Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013
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Leonard Manasseh OBE RA PPRWA, Daylight, 2012 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013
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Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Two Fransciscan Saints in devotion, mid-1650s Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013
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Professor Ivor Abrahams RA, Oxford Gardens Suite, 1977. Royal Collection Trust/(C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013
This photograph is issued to end-user media only. Single use only. Photographs must not be archived or sold on.
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Omnia Vanitas, early to mid-1650s Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013
This photograph is issued to end-user media only. Single use only. Photographs must not be archived or sold on.
Olwyn Bowey RA, Susie Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013

The Queen's Gallery has a spectacular collection of drawings as we saw in last year's magnificent exhibition of Da Vinci's drawings.  The latest exhibition is centred on taking an artist who isn't well recognised and giving Castiglione the limelight.

Castiglione followed on the heels of the great French and Italian masters and many of his earlier works are homages to Titian, Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin. Many of his drawings are quite brilliant, including an intense self-portrait and depictions of mythical events such as the sorceress Circe's transformation of Odysseus's companions into animals.

Castiglione was not one to shy away from self-promotion either and one of the works even has his signature as the focal point. The exhibition alludes to his mercurial personality and this changeability translates into his works – for every evocative black and white monotype there is a work that fails to capture the imagination.

The quality of this exhibition wavers and is thus a true reflection of the fact that Castiglione was a flawed talent who could swing from brilliant to average from one work to the next.

The second exhibition entitled Gifted is a display of 100 works on paper that the Royal Academy gave to the Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee. It features famous Royal Academicians including Tracey Emin, Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley.

Though all these works do feature the signature styles we've all come to associate with these famous artists the quality of the art is patchy at best. Most visitors will undoubtedly have seen better work by these artists elsewhere or of a similar quality at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition.

Though it's a generous gift to present to the Queen, it's hard to justify a paid visit to see these rather unspectacular works.

Castiglione: Lost Genius and Gifted: From the Royal Academy to the Queen are on at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA until 16 March 2014. Tickets are £9.50 for adults and cover entrance to both exhibitions, concessions available.

Last Updated 04 November 2013