Before going to the RB triple bill yesterday I went to the NPG to see the dancer pictures. I don't know why I hadn't been before, it is practically on the doorstep of ROH! It's a big place, too much to see all at once. It is free though, so multiple visits would not be a problem. And there is a nice gift shop, and a GREAT bookshop! (Lots of books on costume!)
The dancer pictures are all in the same room, and I saw Darcey Bussell first - hard to miss it as it is more than life size! It is kind of nice - it looks like her, sort of, and it is very bright (perhaps Izaac Mizrahi saw it before designing the Gong costumes?!) I am not sure I would like it if it wasn't Darcey though.
However I was completely mesmerised by the Anthony Dowell one, I stared and stared at it for ages. He is so beautiful and the painting looks just like a photograph - the detail is amazing. He is an extraordinary pose, with his arms around his face. The information said that the painting was done after a series of photographs taken in Sir Anthony's garden, in bright sunlight, and the pose was taken to show the dynamic of dance. I couldn't work out how the garden in bright sunlight translated to a dark painting, until I saw a glint of light on one of his rings. I watched the glint, it was like a star. I was amazed by how much the painting moved me, as I have had a picture card of it for some time, and it doesn't make me feel how I did looking at the real thing.
The picture of Adam Cooper I thought was less than flattering - it makes him look quite grotesque! The information said the sittings took place during matinee performances of Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake when Adam wasn't dancing. Well, the painting looked like he had been up all night, he looked completely drained and very serious! Poor Adam. If I was as handsome as him I would be distraught that someone perceived me as looking like that painting!
Here is a link to see the Darcey and Sir Anthony pictures on the NPG site. The Adam one is not available, sadly! http://www.npg.org.uk/live/room37.asp
There was an exhibition there on loan from the Washington Portrait Gallery, so maybe when our NPG returns the favour, any Washingtonians might like to request these ones to be loaned to your gallery! (Take care of them though - I definitely want to go back and see them again!)
If you do a search for ballet you can see how much they have but is not on display - it is quite sad. Perhaps one day I will make an appointment to go and see the archives.
National Portrait Gallery, London
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