Home Memorial Address
Memorial Address PDF Print E-mail
Article Index
Memorial Address
Page #
Page #
Page #
Page #

I must, of course, finish with Claude - the artist he loved above all others, and the artist whom we all see through his eyes. In the introduction to the Hayward exhibition catalogue - one of the finest pieces ever written on Claude - he set out his ideas on how the artist should be approached. 'The first quality necessary to the enjoyment of Claude’s art is patience. He is not a painter who offers instant sensations… The process of coming to terms with his work is one of careful adjustment, of opening oneself to the harmonies in which he specialises… it repays the patience expended on it by lasting, by being, as Constable said of a copy of Claude he was making 'something to drink at again and again’’. It is vintage Kitson.

Perhaps only in this country could an intellect so inquiring and so elegant fail to be honoured by either the British Academy or the Order of the British Empire in any of their manifestations. And perhaps only a man so modest as Michael would have minded so little.

For all of us, it matters now not at all. To read Michael Kitson is to be reminded again and again why pictures are great things. To know him was to experience the transforming power of generosity of spirit.

May his memory be a blessing.

Neil Macgregor - Director, National Gallery, London