20 April 2009
Until 24 April the Prado in Madrid is featuring The Sleeping Beuaty: Victorian Paintings from the Museo de Arte de Ponce. The highlights are, of course, Leighton's Flaming June and Burne-Jones's Arthur in Avalon (displayed with two equally stunning works from the Briar Rose series). In addition, there are also paintings and drawings by Millais, Rossetti, Holman Hunt, and the rarely-seen Thomas Seddon, to name just a few. It is interesting to note that this year, Victorian art is found outside of its normal home-ground, Britain. Consider that Holman Hunt is in Minneapolis, the Royal Holloway paintings are traveling to Delaware and Connecticut, Waterhouse has been to Montreal, and now two major shows are on in Spain and Sweden. A cynic might say that the British are becoming tired of the period and the artists, that they've moved on, that the Victorians have been so overexposed as to become almost a joke. And perhaps now only "foreign" museums have the money and inclination to put on large loan exhibitions. I certainly have noticed on our annual June trips to London—prime museum season—that nineteenth century art has been harder to find in recent years. Last year there was Tate Britain's exploration of the Middle East, but that was about it.