When we’ve become familiar with the great works in a museum space, we tend to be blasé—that Rembrandt (or Renoir, or Rousseau) is always there; I’ll study it next time. But pop the painting into a new context and suddenly it’s new, too. With renovation work to be done in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace, the 65 masterpieces that call that space home have moved to the Queen’s Gallery, where they will stay for just over a year. Here, they are not grouped as before, in several tiers based on genre, but single-hung and reorganized—re-curated, you might say. Geography is one organizing principle: the paintings are Dutch, Flemish, and Italian. Other themes have emerged as well: realism versus idealism, experimentation with perspective and scale, hidden meanings, and up-to-the-minute relevance. AIR MAIL asked Isabella Manning, assistant curator of paintings at the Royal Collection Trust and a co-curator of “Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace,” for an inside view.
LAURA JACOBS: Is there a painting among these that doesn’t usually get the attention it deserves and that we should be sure to notice?