The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is one of the second city’s treasures, a stunning Victorian building that is home to a gallery dedicated to ‘The Staffordshire Hoard’, a wealth of Pre Raphaelite treasures including my most beloved painting of all (The last of England by Ford Maddox Brown) and a brilliant gallery that is a tribute to Birmingham and its people.
I spent a rather wet and miserable Friday soaking up these treasures, and also checking out to rather fabulous exhibitions that are currently taking place. The Leonardo 500 exhibition is a joint enterprise between some of the UKs most important museums and art galleries that is celebrating the work of Leonardo Da Vinci. Birmingham has a collection of 12 of the master’s drawings on display, showcasing the artists interests – painting, sculpture, architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany.
The collection is beautifully curated and displayed, and it was lovely to see such a diverse range of people enjoying the work, from children in school groups, to art lovers pouring over the work. Da Vinci’s attention to detail was incredible, and the works, although extremely fragile now, still show the brilliance of his accuracy and imagination.
The second exhibition I went to see couldn’t be more different than the Da Vinci one. ‘Too Cute – Sweet is about to get Sinister’ which has been curated by Rachel Maclean is all about how the fine line between cute and, quite frankly disturbing is a very fine one, and how the things that some people love (like porcelain dolls for instance) other people will find decidedly creepy.
The exhibition is fabulous, a frothy confection of pink and fluffy that is also wonderfully weird and makes you look twice.