Saturday, March 15, 2008
The enduring power of Titian's Noli Me Tangere
Does everyone know the story of how pictures from the National Gallery were stored in Welsh slate mines during WW2 to save them from potential damage?
Winston Churchill sent a telegram forbidding the planned shipment of the National Gallery's paintings to Canada for safekeeping. "Bury them in caves or in cellars," he commanded then director Kenneth Clark, "but not a picture shall leave these islands."
The museum then decided to display one old-master work a month in response to public outcry. Somehow they canvassed a nation. "The picture that the public wanted most of all was Titian's 'Noli Me Tangere,'" Director MacGregor recounts, describing it as "surely the deepest investigation in Western painting of a love that survives death.... It is an incomparable meditation on love continuing without physical contact."
Something to ponder on the eve of Holy Week.