Finally went to see Lines of Thought, the British Museum’s touring exhibition currently in the Brynmor Jones Library exhibition space at the University of Hull. “The greatest gathering of artistic talent ever seen in Hull, in one exhibition,” revealing some of the creative process of Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Dürer, Degas and a load of other big names.
Having stared up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel a couple of weeks ago, I’m still going through a period of reacclimatising when it comes to looking at anything not on an epic scale, but it was very interesting to see these drawings, etchings, sketches and doodles. I had to stop short of telling everyone in the room, as a I looked at Michelangelo’s Studies for the Last Judgement, that I’d seen the finished product, and it was a lot more mind-blowing than the black chalk on paper I was looking at.
I was most enamoured by the work of a writer. Victor Hugo produced nearly 3,000 drawings in his lifetime, which provided the impetus to let his imagination run riot when it came to putting pen to paper and his words in the right order. I love his choice of materials – soot, the occasional bit of ink and, most impressively, the dregs of his coffee.
I said to a woman staring at Hugo’s Landscape With A Castle (1857) that I now knew what I could do with all that leftover coffee that lurks at the bottom of mugs I have next to my laptop. “Ah yes,” she said, “but could you do something that good with them?” She’s clearly not seen the self portrait I did for #challengehull otherwise she’d have known the answer.