ART: PRIVATE VIEW

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The Independent Culture
Mirror Image: Jonathan Miller on Reflection National Gallery, London WC2

Dr Jonathan Miller has done most things cultural over the last 30 years. While his doctorate is a medical rather than an academic qualification, he's an academic as well, and variously a producer and director of film, theatre, opera and television. He's an author and presenter, and one-time star of Beyond the Fringe.

Given this polymathic pedigree, it was only a matter of time before he turned to the visual arts, and here he fills six rooms of the National Gallery with works by Velazquez, Matisse and Freud, among others, from various national and international institutions and private collections. Not bad for a first attempt.

His theme is reflection, the play of light on mirrors and other shiny surfaces, and the way that artists down the years have made paint glimmer and shimmer. At first glance it's a simple enough idea that has enabled him to call up some of the gallery's finest works, including the Arnolfini Marriage and Rokeby Venus, but in Miller's hands what starts as a simple idea becomes a complex exploration of appearance and reality, and of the very notion of self-portraiture. It should be one of the shows of the autumn.

National Gallery, London WC2 (0171-747 2885) 16 Sept to 13 Dec

Richard Ingleby

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