Wednesday, July 2, 2014

45 Days in London: Day 9

National Gallery, Jubilee Walkway (skate park), Victoria Embankment Gardens

Jeff took this selfie of us in front of the National Gallery. 
Sometimes I get museum burn-out. I'm sure that sounds like heresy, coming from an artist, but it's true. I think the problem is I look so intensely at each piece that after a while I get visual overload. So when we went to the National Gallery, which I've visited several times in the past, my approach was, "Let's see all the best stuff and skip the rest." Famous last words. I skimmed the medieval art (not my fave) but how can you skip a room with a Leonardo drawing, a room with a handful of Rembrandts, a room full of Turners, Monets, Van Goghs? The bottom line? We saw every single exhibit in the whole museum...just spent a little more time in some sections than others. 

As always the Turners took my breath away. They never fail to speak to me, on a deep spiritual level. The impressionists and post-imressionists are always a delight and an inspiration. And Van Gogh is a show-stopper. There is always a little crowd around his Sunflowers. But I had forgotten how much (and why) I love Murillo (one of my dad's favorite artists). I know of no other artist who was so masterful at capturing tenderness. The gentleness in each expression, the kindness in every countenance, the softness that surrounds them. These commanded the room with a whisper.

Of course, practically right next door to the National Gallery (I love Trafalgar Square!) is the famed St. Martin In the Field. We love this church and the crypt below.

You also might be surprised to know that Trafalgar Square is no longer ravaged by pigeons. In fact, there is nary a pigeon in sight. We're guessing this is due to the new signs posted, announcing a 500-pound fine for anyone caught feeding the birds. Haha. Mary Poppins would be so disappointed!

It turns out Mr. Cool gets museum burnout faster than anybody, so to appease him, we went to a skate park in the afternoon. One of the things I love about London is how well they incorporate the new with the old, how peaceably ancient and modern ideas coexist. Directly under some historic Queen Elizabeth venue on the Jubilee Walkway is a graffiti-spattered skateboard park. I sat here with my sketchbook, capturing people.

Like the wisemen of old, tonight we "went home by another way." Avoiding old ruts, we walked along the river and discovered the Victoria Embankment Gardens, yet another peaceful respite of green within a bustling city. I loved seeing locals just relaxing here.

1 comment:

Kazzy said...

I heard a double cello concerto at St. Martin in the Fields (Vivaldi?) and will never forget the feeling.