Saturday, June 25, 2011

All Alone

I like to be alone sometimes, but I usually don't like to do alone.  Ask Dave; I hate going to the grocery store alone.  Ask Kathryn and Courtney; I hate walking to class alone.  At parties, I like to have David or a friend at my side as we mutually mingle.  However, I realised two months ago (the night of the royal wedding, actually, when I was in the British Museum for the first time) that there was one thing I must do alone: museums.  When I am interested in an exhibit or painting, I spend a long time in front of it.  And I start feeling anxious if there is someone nearby waiting for me to finish.  So as I truncated my visit to the British Museum that evening to return to friends more quickly, I determined that one day, when I had a day off, I would venture down to London myself and spend an entire day museum hopping.  Yesterday was that day.

It started with a train ride, which always begins with the most ironic sign in the city:

My first stop in London was the Tate Modern, where I was very excited to see my first Mark Rothko paintings ever.  I'm not sure what I was expecting on a Friday afternoon, but I sat in the crowded Rothko room disgruntled at the hoards of people who continually drifted through the small, dim room.  Maybe one day I will find a way to sneak in at night, when I can spend hours in silence, pondering the impenetrable mysteries that are Mark Rothko paintings.

Mark Rothko, Red on Maroon (1959)

My favourite room in the entire museum was just nearby, with a Pollock on one wall, Monet's gorgeous late Water-Lilies on another, a green and yellow Rothko on another, and a fantastic Joan Mitchell on another. 

Jackson Pollock, Summertime: Number 9A (1948)

Claude Monet, Water-Lilies (after 1916) 

Joan Mitchell, Number 12 (1951-2)
There was some other good stuff around too - straight out of my humanities text books.  I love that.

Roy Lichtenstein, Whaam!  (1963)

Georges Braque, Bottle and Fishes (1910-2)
Like Picasso - but so much better! 

Auguste Rodin, The Kiss (1901-4)
The next stop was the British Museum for some real, quality time.  And it was.

King George III's Library in the Enlightenment Room.
This would be my dream library, seriously...

Fancy meeting you here...

Celestial Globe
Much more meaningful after reading the first few sections of The Discoverers.  Fascinating read!

I loved the clock room.

Cyrus Cylinder
Naming my firstborn son Cyrus because of this little rock and documents signed by it...

Stopped into the Lachish room for one last look.

Stolen right off the Parthenon
By the time I had finished at the British Museum, my feet were starting to kill me.  I headed off to the National Gallery for some more wandering.  In the end, I spent quite a lot of time curled up on the padded benches in the middle of my favourite rooms.  I think I could probably live there.

Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed in the National Gallery, but below are images of some of my favourite works:

Caravaggio, The Supper at Emmaus (1601)
Of course, I made a beeline for the Caravaggios.  I sat in front of this painting for a good twenty minutes.  

Paul Cezanne, Hillside in Provence (about 1890-2)

Diego Velazquez, The Immaculate Conception (1618-9)

John Constable, The Hay Wain (1821)

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Gladioli in a Vase (about 1874-5)
Looks much more stunning in real life.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, At the Theatre (La Premiere Sortie) (1876-7)

Elisabeth-Louise Vigee-Libru, Self-Portrait in a Straw Hat (1782)
The eyes are extremely arresting... 

JMW Turner, Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway (1844)
And my very favourite:

Rembrandt, A Woman Bathing in a Stream (1654)
I feel so blessed to have such amazing works of art and history available without any more cost than that of the train tickets to London.  I sometimes regret my humanities degree, but because of it I am able to spend hours prowling art galleries and feel absolutely in heaven.  Combing the British Museum was not quite so satisfying, but I was reminded of the billions of people who have come and gone on this earth and how little I know about them.  I am grateful for a great and loving Heavenly Father who did know them and who is mindful of the turnings of the earth.  In the meantime, I will try to learn what I can about others so that I can develop a sympathy and understanding for those around me, no matter how different they seem.

Thanks London, for a fabulous day out!  Delays on the train trip home made for a late night.  I was very glad to get home safely and sleep my weary feet away! 

1 comment:

Ashley said...

I love The Supper at Emmaus. I spent probably a good half hour with that painting myself.

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