Five things this Good Friday

From the National Gallery, London

Umbrian Diptych Master of the Borgo Crucifix (Master of the Franciscan Crucifixes) about 1255–60

The Virgin and Child Egg tempera on poplar 32.2 × 22.9 cm

The Man of Sorrows Egg tempera on poplar 32.3 × 23 cm


Giovanni da Milano The Virgin: Left Pinnacle Panel Pinnacle Panels about 1365 Egg tempera on wood 89.3 × 37.2 cm


Probably by Jacopo di Cione Noli me tangere about 1368–70 Egg tempera on wood 56 × 38.2 cm


Duccio The Transfiguration Group Maestà Predella Panels 1307/8–11 Egg tempera on wood 48.5 × 51.4 cm


Duccio The Virgin and Child with Saint Dominic and Saint Aurea, and Patriarchs and Prophets about 1312–15 (?) Egg tempera on wood 61.4 × 39.3 cm


While I’m far from religious, whenever I’m in London I try and get to the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery to look at the Icons and altar pieces. My foundation tutor was really keen on them and I’m sure his enthusiasm was an influence. I particularly appreciate the “objectness” of them, which these images don’t fully carry. Like most painting, it’s best seen in the flesh. And ideally more than once. Different days, different times, under different circumstances and if you’re lucky, different light. What resonates one day may not the next. It’s these revelations and small observations that are part of the pleasure of looking at and living with art.

And talking of moving at a different pace, if you’re following it today, enjoy the cricket and have a great Easter break.

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