The National Gallery and discovering that I’m a philistine

So I finally made it to the National Gallery. Slightly sheepishly, I’ll admit I found most of it dull.

I went round in chronological order, and it was a pretty depressing start. Lots of religious pictures and historical portraits. Dull. Only the slightly ghostly sketch of the Madonna & child by Da Vinci really held my attention at all from the pre-1600 galleries.

Things picked up a little as we headed into the 17th century, with the Dutch & Flemish seascapes being the first section that I really loved. Even better were the impressionists, and best of all the Turners, which I loved. (Now what does it say about me that virtually all the paintings I loved were landscapes of some kind? Very few of the portraits held any interest for me.)

Still, overall I only really connected with a much smaller proportion of paintings (no more than 10% I reckon) than I typically do at Modern art galleries, which was no surprise to me. I just think I prefer modern stuff, something that was confirmed on the way out when I finally got to have a look at the latest occupant of the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. Much more fun than a painting of a dead king.

Nelsons Column, seen through Model for a Hotel

Nelson's Column, seen through "Model for a Hotel"


4 responses to “The National Gallery and discovering that I’m a philistine

  1. What is this made of ? Glass or some kind of plastic or.. ?
    How big is this ?

  2. I’m pretty certain it’s plastic. You can get a slightly better idea of its scale in this picture:

    which shows it in context on its plinth, with the National Gallery in the background.

  3. I’ve been twice to the National Gallery recently after not visiting for years and years. Both times I’ve really enjoyed. The first time because I hired an audio guide, which made the really early religious stuff suprisingly interesting despite being underwhelmed when I arrived. The second time I went with my children (aged 6,4,2) and we followed the monsters trail leaflet, which made it fun. I think it’s such an enormous place that you need to break it down into bitesized chunks to enjoy it.

  4. I think you’re probably right Victoria – understanding more of the context (and not trying to fit it all in at once) would probably help me enjoy it more, I think I’ll have to return to really get the best out of it

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