Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Pretty Paintings from Paris

A quick trip to Canberra to see Masterpieces from Paris at the National Gallery. We got there early and had our tickets but there was still a long (but very quiet) line weaving into the gallery. I guess we shuffled for just over an hour until we got even a glance at the pictures.

I'd never seen a real Degas before so seeing Dancers climbing the stairs was amazing. One of the dancers has a blue bow looked as if it has sparkles in the paint, as if it was illuminated somehow.

Claude Monet's London, Parliament: sun through the fog was mind-boggling. Nothing in the painting is clear, just shades of light and dark and smudges but you can see the sun setting behind the bank of fog.

There was a big crowd around Vincent van Gogh's Starry night. How did he do it? The depth of the yellow stars? The inky sky. You can almost hear the water lapping. Insane.

One of my favourites was Rest by Vilhelm Hammershoi. A woman sitting in a wooden chair, you never see her face, just the back of her head; her hair in a up-sweep, a table and part of a white, scalloped plate. So still and muted.

On the way out of the gallery grounds we went though The Fog Garden - great timing. We left in a haze.

It was my second trip to Canberra but it always feels the same, like a photograph taken on a hot day.

My holiday days are running out. Picking strawberries in Flinders tomorrow or not!

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Some Books I've Really Enjoyed

  • Apples For Jam by Tessa Kiros
  • Saturday by Ian McEwan
  • Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life by Andrew Motion
  • The Bell Jar by Syliva Plath
  • Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
  • Stasiland by Anna Funder

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