Finding Art in Places I Didn't Expect
In London, I haven’t really gotten the chance to see very much art. All the museums I’ve been to have contained much more historical artifacts than art. One great thing about the museums I’ve been to in Europe is that they’ve all been free, so I’ve been to a decent amount. However, I’m also a bit more of a history buff than an art buff, so its only natural I would drift towards what I feel more comfortable and intrigued by.
In fact, most of the great pieces of art I’ve seen have been in other towns and cities I’ve travelled to, in particular Edinburgh and Cambridge.
In Edinburgh the weather was terrible, so the people and I I was with tried to spend as much time indoors as possible. On the second day, we found ourselves in the Scottish National Gallery. I was wandering around looking at various portraits and landscapes from different eras, when I stumbled upon something I was not expecting to see, a piece by Van Gogh.
I don’t know why I was surprised to see one of his works, but I guess maybe a country like Scotland isn’t the first place you would think a Van Gogh would be displayed. Needless to say when I first saw it, it greatly drew my eye, as many of his other works do. However, it was quite different from the paintings surrounding it so it stood out. I don’t remember its name off hand, but I remember it was of a tree with pink flowers in some kind of meadow.
I remember looking at it for a long time, not really thinking, just blankly staring at it. I kind of just lost myself in it for a little while. I think my mind also went a little blank because I was so perplexed to see this particular work in this particular place.
I never really thought of Edinburgh or really any of Scotland as a global place, a place that is influenced and contains various works from different cultures and places. This painting made me realize that Edinburgh in particular is a city that is extremely connected to the rest of the world, particularly western and central Europe.
I was in Cambridge towards the beginning of the semester with the NYU London program on a day trip to see the town and the prestigious university. However, they had a free museum, and since it was kind of rainy and wet late in the afternoon, my friends and I decided to check the museum out, mostly to be sheltered from the miserable weather.
I was wandering around and stumbled upon a few works by Monet. Again, I don’t remember the names as I did not write them down, but they were still interesting to see. I was significantly less surprised to see these works here than in the Van Gogh in Edinburgh, for Cambridge is the home of possibly the most prestigious university in the world, so having a brilliant piece of art in town is no shock.
It still was interesting to look at however. I don’t really remember anything distinct about it, besides Monet’s particular style, but it was nice to check out a work from world-renowned painter in addition to everything else in town.
I wish I had more to talk about in terms of art, but I haven’t had as much opportunity as I would like. The most interesting and inward-looking experience I had, which is how art that I connect with affects me, was definitely the piece by Van Gogh. Hopefully I will be able to take in more during spring break as I travel across Western Europe and back in London for the remainder of the spring semester.