Back 2 London

Another Saturday was upon us, which, of course, meant another St. Clare's sponsored excursion: this time it was back to London for a day of art history. We spent the first half of the day at the Tate Modern Art Gallery, and while I have never fancied myself as a modern art enthusiast, the chance to see some of the famous works in person was too great to pass up. The Warhol's left me a bit flat and the two 'half tables' glued together to form one 'whole table' seemed as pointless as voting for a third party candidate in an American election, but I enjoyed seeing a Picasso for the first time and the Lichtenstein's were quite extraordinary--very large and vibrant, with each piece its own satire of modern culture--they alone were worth the outing.

We broke for lunch around 1:00 and grabbed a quick snack next to Covent Garden before heading to The National Gallery (above Trafalgar Square), the main reason I came along on this outing. I had taken an art history course, the year prior, and was informed by my former instructor that if I returned from England without seeing the 'Arnolfini Portrait,' by Van Eyck, I would no longer be in her good graces (you were right, Kathleen, the textures are incredible and I spent about a half an hour staring into the little painted mirror). It was also my first chance to see a Raphael, a Leonardo, a Rembrandt, a Caravaggio, a Monet, or a Botticelli in person, and I was not dissappointed in the least (particularly by the intense mood of Caravaggio's works), but it was the Van Gogh's that truely blew me away. I was absolutely enthralled with his 'Chair' and felt overtaken by a mesmorising calm as I looked onto 'A Wheatfield, with Cypresses.' The intesity of the blue hues painted in the clouds, the mountain and blended into the shrubbery left me in awe and I would not be lying if I told you that I could have spent all day staring at that one piece. This was my first experience with Van Gogh, and, as you will read in subsequent blog entries, it will not be my last. I was hooked.