it is a blessing to be able to visit free of charge, to see great works and masterpieces that would otherwise remain hidden and out of our reach. but a curse it is too because how are we to see them all with our precious moments in foreign cities when we have other things we want to do. such is our quandary in foreign cities. but not today. because today we will see this one and this one alone, putting to bed our differing opinions about how many we should visit. at least, for today.
it’s quite a grown up feeling, to visit a gallery voluntarily. remembering when we were children and would be taken on school trips to spend a morning being led in and out of rooms as our art teachers hoped to instill in us a love for art and painters and imagery. but it must of worked because here are, another gallery in another foreign city. but we don’t feel grown up. we speak in whispers, afraid of drawing too much attention and thus risking a scolding from gallery staff.
because galleries are akin to libraries, we enter them with reverence and respect. we know the rules, to speak in whispers and to photograph with our camera flash turned off. we know we must walk around, in quiet contemplation, appreciating the great works and masterpieces we are so fortunate to see. we might sit for a while when our legs become weary. but just for a moment because we know the rules. this is not a coffee house where one can remain stationary for too long. we must keep moving because there is more to see and we are curious and keen.
we don’t care much for renaissance paintings, with their violence, and gore and sacrificial animals and virgins. we love the impressionists with their fun and freedom, alluding to a time in the world when life was hard and the nights promised debauchery, and summer’s spent on golden seashores and poppy strewn fields made up for the harshness of city life. pastel coloured landscapes, the stuff of dreams, fill our minds and make us yearn for a country house in provence where we too might drink wine in the afternoon sun while dabbling with paintbrushes and canvases as we immortalise nubile beauties.
scottish national gallery
edinburgh, eh2 2el, uk