Friday, June 26, 2015

If you snooze, you lose

Back in the sixties Georgina Masson came up with some outstanding advice in her classic companion Guide to Rome. When you visit the Vatican head straight for the Sistine Chapel. Her instructions were firm. Do not be diverted, forget the Gallery of Maps, ignore Da Vinci’s St Jerome, and go straight past the Raphael Rooms. We followed her precisely and earned an unimaginable 35 minutes alone with Michelangelo’s famous frescos. We pulled the same stunt today with Velasquez at the Grand Palais in Paris. Timed tickets meant around 200 of us all were let in together but Team V headed for the last three rooms zooming through early works, influences, his time in Venice and even the Rokeby Venus only coming to a standstill in front of the mighty portrait of Pope Innocent X. Francis Bacon might have given it a miss on his trip to Rome, but seriously, it was a mistake. Because of Masson’s advice all those years ago, we had the place to ourselves for half an hour which goes to show that guidebooks can change your life.

We’d like to say we went back to look at the early work at the end of our two hour visit but, between us, we didn’t.

Images: left entering room 11 and right Team V’s private audience with Pope Innocent X