Ever since I was a little girl I've loved looking at portraits. Well, faces in general, but painted portraits especially. One of the books I got for Christmas was the one above, which I can't recommend highly enough. It's about self-portraits, and the writer, Laura Cumming, points out all sorts of things that I would never have noticed about the pictures illustrated in the book. The one I'm trying to forget is that Michelangelo portrayed a distortion of his own face in the flayed skin of St Bartholemew in the Sistine Chapel.
Today we deChristmassed the house. We used to leave it till Twelfth Night, but nowadays I get fed up of tinsel and cards rather earlier than that and it's a relief to be able to dust again. I actually quite like dusting: picking up my little bits of glass and porcelain and rearranging them. Anyway, we rewarded ourselves by a visit to the as-yet-undeChristmassed National Portrait Gallery - above - to see the exhibition of the BP Portrait Awards. They were WONDERFUL. I know that fashionable people admire paintings which consist of a blank oblong with two red dots, but I don't understand why that is art. Today's portraits varied a lot, but they all looked like people and some of them were so realistic that we could hardly believe that they were painted at all. Remind me, however, that if Grandson should ever become a portrait painter and suggest painting my (by then) wrinkly, craggy old visage, I must suggest that he should do a nice impressionistic effort rather than making too much effort to render every furrow, sag and pore, like some a couple of these people did for their grannies.
We made the mistake of going to the gallery shop afterwards and Mr Life unwisely urged me to treat myself to this etched glass vase. I love it but I do not need more stuff. Sorry, children. Something else for you to deal with when I'm deceased.
Afterwards we were not tempted to go on the Christmas big wheel. There in the background is the Scott Monument. As I think I've mused before, who reads Scott now? Yet there he is in Princes Street: a big white statue in a huge Gothic edifice. Ah, the fickleness of fame.
Look! Santa Claus, in mufti, was on this bus. He looked a bit grumpy but I expect he's tired.
These were the other books I got for Christmas. All so lovely! I'm only just at the end of my (July) birthday books, though. Must get reading... . There's not enough time!
In other news: the guinea pigs are fine, Daughter 1 and SIL 1.
And Cassie sat in a box.