In all the years I have been living in London, I have been to most museums numerous times (not the V&A yet, much to my chagrin, but I intend to change that VERY soon!). What I had however not yet managed was attending one of the museum lates most of them offer, mainly on a Friday night, some every week, some on set days of a month.
So I was beyond excited when my lovely friend Richard kindly agreed to accompany me to one of them last Friday evening. Our choice fell on the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square, always a winner when it comes to art. I hadn’t been there for well over a year in which time they appear to have moved their entrance just to confuse me.
I have a profound weakness for the old masters, you feel quite humbled in the presence of some of their works, several metres wide and high, with frames that are an artwork in themselves. I deeply admire the capability of their craft, as well as the determination, willpower and determination they must have possessed to visualise their ideas in the first place and then being equally apt at putting them on canvas.
Of course we were not the only ones having the idea to visit that evening, but overall it is a lot calmer in the halls. No school children and I would assume less tourists too, but quite a few artists bringing their own interpretations of the exhibited works to paper. I do apologise to anyone who now feels reminded of that rather weird woman staring at their sketch books last Friday, likelihood is it was yours truly. Take it as a compliment!
We were lucky enough to catch the separate exhibition of Boilly’s Scenes of Parisian Life in one of the smaller rooms and if you have the time to see it, I would highly recommend you do. Spanning the times of the French Revolution, the times of Napoleon and the Restoration of the French Monarchy, his paintings are often making one medium appear like another (a stroke of genius) and his tromp d’oeils are just beautiful.
It is worth checking out what the place you want to visit has to offer, as you can not only visit the different galleries but quite often you have a chance to attend a special tour or talk that is not available during the standard opening hours. And the best thing: most of these things are free (of course some special exhibitions or tours carry a charge but in general, they do not). That is probably one of the things I love most about this – if you really have an interest in arts, history or science, it is available to everyone.