Wednesday, 11 December 2013

In Bruges, and a lesson learned

I spent a few days in Bruges last week doing all the usual touristy stuff (and one or two unusual things), and had a really nice time. Get the early Eurostar and you can be there by lunchtime; well worth it. Anyway, we visited the Dali exhibition which was full of eye-opening drawings and lithographs, almost all of which I'd not seen anywhere else. There was the obligatory visit to the Groeninge Museum and a well curated journey through the history of Flemish art; including seeing just how great Jan van Eyck was. There was also the Arendthuis museum, not what I'd expected, but which was showing paired exhibitions of the printmakers Frank Brangwyn and Jules de Bruckyer (to my eyes, a revelation).


And then there was the lesson. I very nearly didn't bother to go into the Church of Our Lady. It is being heavily restored, it's freezing, half the art is covered up, half the building is inaccessible, the entry is still €2 (down from €6) and yet, nestled in a fairly standard red marble altarpiece is the most exquisite little madonna and child by Michelangelo which, although you cannot get close to it (and this is a poor photo), was not covered and made the visit entirely worthwhile. 



The lesson is this: never pass up the opportunity to see a Michelangelo work; it'll make your heart sing. 
For a while at least.