In a move to make High Art more accessible to a wider audience, the National Gallery today opened the David Cameron Wing, showcasing previously lost or unseen art treasures. The main room of the new wing is dominated by a previously unseen Velasquez “The Ascension of Pickles” in which the Communities Secretary is show being borne heavenwards from a landscape of shimmering browns and blacks by a winch being pulled by palpably straining cherubic hordes in Environment Agency High Vis Jackets.
This is flanked on one side by “Sunday Morning at a Foodbank on the Isle of Dogs” by the French Impressionist master Georges Seurat, an idyllic scene showing the traditional Sunday-morning skip harvesters outside a branch of Iceland being watched by amused promenaders from Canary Wharf. On the other side the diptych “Garden of Special Measures” by Hieronymus Bosch depicts on one panel the charred hulk of a state school in which soot blackened demons in hoodies dance beneath the dangling forms of OFSTED inspectors. On the facing panel, flaxen haired angels frolic with unicorns in the Gardens of an Ivory Palace beneath which is the legend “Academium Celestium” .
The 19th Century is represented by the French Romantic masterpiece “Oath of the Milibandii” by Louis-David which depicts Eduardium and Davidum , the sons of Milibandius simultaneously swearing an oath to be Consul on a bundle of tightly-furled copies of Tribune and flicking V-signs at each other .
“Charity and Temperance” by the Pre-Raphaelite John Everett Millais shows a figure in evening dress, not unlike Ian Duncan Smith, stepping from a hansom cab in evening wear onto the upturned face of a match girl, while, in the background, a figure not unlike Edwina Currie can be seen punching a tubercular child chimney sweep.
An outstanding piece of 17th century Dutch portraiture is “Vrouw Katy Hopkins” by Gerrit Dou. Although some doubt has been cast on the provenance of the piece as Vrouw Hopkins’ mouth is not open and does not appear to be spouting spiteful horsey cack.
In the 20th Century section, Salvador Dali’s “The Waking Nightmare of Ed Balls” merely shows a giant arse. While perhaps the most striking exhibit of the whole exhibition is a newly discovered Picasso, from his damp brown period: Against a surreal nightmare landscape, twisted agonised figures of human and animal livestock writhe against leafless brown tree trunks while a single green wellington dominates the foreground. The nameplate bears the single word “Somerset”.