Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Museums and Europe, part 1 of 13ish

As an extra credit assignment for my art class I wrote up a “museum report” that gave a brief description of my impressions of the 13 museums The Eldest and I visited in Europe. I’ve been working on expanding that to post here to get more in depth about our trip... finally. I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to write up the trip since there was so much to it, like a giant size sandwich you can’t quite get your mouth around, so I’ve been procrastinating. I posted our calendar earlier with a minimum of details and a few garbled reports from the road; this is more organized and in depth and includes pictures. Since DH and The Eldest will divorce me if I upload too many pictures to the blog at once (it slows up THEIR internet) I’ll break this up into bits, a museum or two at the time, starting with the National Gallery in London.

National Gallery, Wednesday, May 6:

This was the first museum we were able to visit and I was so amazed at the vividness of the colors on the paintings. How could they be so old and yet look so fresh and bright? The lighting was excellent with no glare on the paintings to interfere with what you were seeing, something I came to appreciate in retrospect when we visited other museums. While I remember the museum itself, unfortunately the individual works are all a blur. We ate at the restaurant and it was probably the best “museum meal” we had on the whole trip; I remember dining there more than I do the paintings. This is pretty sad considering the masterpieces we probably saw. (I looked at the website to type this up and I'm kicking myself that I don't remember more!!! There are so many incredible works there that I'm learning about in my art class. Oh well, I'll just have to go back.) ;)

The National Gallery faces Trafalgar Square where we had a blast. There were street artists hanging out everywhere making these elaborate drawings with sidewalk chalk, extending the art out of the gallery right into the square. (I was so busy sight seeing I almost walked right through one painting- chalking? - but The Eldest grabbed my arm and stopped me at the last second- whew!) This was also where we saw the Barca fans, much to our surprise. We found out later that FC Barca (the soccer team from Barcelona) was in town for a play off game with Chelsea. The Barca fans know how to PAR-TEE, let me tell you! They were roaming around in large packs singing the Barca fight song, all decked out in the team colors, then gathered in the square for a huge rally. We watched them while The Eldest climbed around on Lord Nelson’s lions.

On a final note, our cabbie on the way to the train station to leave London made me laugh when he observed that London is the only place where they charge you to get into the churches but the museums are free.

OK, one more final note about the one lonely picture with this post. I was ready to THROW our camera when I realized we only had room for a very limited number of pictures, like 30 or something ridiculous, on the sim card that day. It was the card that came with the camera; I purchased cards with room for a bazillion pictures on them but of course forgot to change to one of those on both the first AND second days in London. (MAJOR ARGH HERE.) That's why the only picture you have from our National Gallery day is the one of the Barca fans with the lions to the right and the gallery in the back on the left. (You can see the sideways banner between the columns if you expand the picture.) We took other pictures that day of The Changing of the Guard and various other sites, but Trafalgar Square, which we so enjoyed, only got the one. And a blurry one of The Eldest on the lions, but you can barely see her so it's not worth posting. ~:-P

PS: FINAL final note- I talked to The Eldest about the paintings and she remembers a couple of them, namely Whistlejacket which stood out because it's HUGE (roughly 9' x 8') and An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, which she remembers because she's seen a parody of it in The Art of Discworld, based a series she loves. All I can say is I was in a jet lagged fog since we went to the National Gallery on the first full day of our trip; I am so frustrated I don't remember every detail of every piece of art we saw on the whole trip. :(

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