The absence of a large poster for Ai Weiwei – or, indeed, for Painting the Modern Garden, our next major exhibition – means that the full breadth of the Burlington House façade is visible, including the figures who were placed in niches on the attic storey when Sidney Smirke added an extra floor to Lord Burlington’s piano nobile. They are those who were regarded as the greatest artists of the time. Reynolds, of course, and Wren, both by Edward Stephens (although where did Stephens get this idea of Reynolds as a robust young figure in an academic gown ?):-
On the left hand side are Titian, Flaxman and Raphael, Flaxman, Titian by William Calder Marshall, Flaxman and Raphael by Henry Weekes:-
The more surprising ones are the flanking ones – Phidias and William of Wykeham, both by Joseph Durham ARA:-
It’s slightly surprising to find Flaxman sandwiched between Titian and Raphael and even more to find the founder of Winchester College amongst the greatest artists of all time.