17 January 2011

"I must confess: I've never heard of this chap."

Saturday, I wanted to get out of the flat - it was a bit cold and rainy - but hey, that's Scotland! and I figured it was my first legitimate weekend in Edinburgh, so I should at least have something to show for myself. I spent a bit of time lounging around and preparing some food before heading down the hill to the National Gallery of Scotland. (Well, first I stopped at the smaller museum next door, but I don't even know the name and, due to some major construction or renovation or something, there were only two exhibits, and I could only find my way to one. It was neat, but still...)

I'm not exactly a museum hound. I mean, I can appreciate artifacts and exhibits, but I just don't know a lot of history, so sometimes, the significance of things doesn't quite hit me. Other times, I just get tired or hungry (but I thought ahead and slept in and had a late lunch!)

Needless to say, Saturday was not one of those days.

The museum is awesome! It's one of only five national portrait galleries in the world (or so says one of the signs...I think), and it's actually quite big. It has twelve rooms on the first floor, and in about an hour and a half, I had only made it through three. Lots of the art that I was viewing had direct relevance to my Scottish Enlightenment class, so I took the time to read fully the paragraphs of explanation. Also, the paintings were REALLY GOOD...so I just stared a lot. I was overcome with an intense appreciation for old things and just "oldness" (yes, this is becoming a theme in Scotland.) I realized that, for so, so many years, even in the most modern of societies, paintings really were the only way to preserve a scene - cameras are quite new on the world scale. More often than not, our only ideas of the appearance of historical figures come ONLY from "art" - ESPECIALLY outside the baby nation known as the United States.

Art appreciation in an hour? I'll take it!

I definitely plan to go back many-a-time and brave the remaining three-quarters of the lower floor...and who knows what the upper level(s) may hold?!

Oh, and about the title: while perusing the walls, I overheard a cool-looking elderly lady say that about one of the historical figures hanging in front of her. I chuckled to myself.

No comments:

Post a Comment