Guessing that evey man, child and his dog would be visiting the slides at the Tate Modern, we opted for the other Tate. Tate Britain and the Holbein exhibition.
We had a rather unexpected pleasure watching a bright yellow, forty-eight tonne* steamroller take off and gently fly. To see such a hulk of machinery glide through the air with such ease and grace was actually amazing. The fifteen or so people watching burst into spontaneous applause as the steamroller touched back down without so much as a bump. It's outside the Chelsea Art College next to Tate Britain. It's fun and free!
The Holbein costs a tenner. A price worth paying we agreed. The portraits for which Holbein is best known are superb. Oil on oak in his hands is certainly something. The colours, the light and shade, the richness and detail all combine to create such wonderful life-like portraits. In our own amateurish way we decided the ultramarine background definitely had a big part to play.
We weren't without our criticisms (one piece looked truly awful) and silly comments - "It looks like it must have been reduced on a photocopier" while studiously staring at an intricate sketch in miniature and G's remark that the gold baton being held by Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, looked "like a snooker cue."
We were also quite disappointed to discover Anne of Cleves didn't look like a moose. As the accompanying notes point out she seems quite attractive to the modern eye.
A fabulous exhibition - you've got until 7 January 2007 to see it.
*ok, maybe 48-tonnes combined with the counter-balance weights etc.