Go to the National Gallery
So this week was shamefully the first time I’d been to the NG. I can’t believe it took me this long. You must go here, even if you hate art, because the chance to get a look at paintings that are hundreds of years old is quite mindblowing. It’s in Trafalgar Square, near clubs etc, so if you’re more interested in less academic pursuits, you could simply stop off for a few minutes and go inspect a Van Gogh or Da Vinci, then head back to drunken debauchery. It’s free, so there’s really no excuse. Even the gallery can think of ten reasons to visit.
The gallery itself consists of four seperate sections, all chronological, then each room seperated into different sections. It’s all shown in the gallery floor plan. If there is one painting you are interested in, there is an interactive catalogue you can use to find the painting and find out exactly what room to visit.
Mum and I were here for three hours, and we didn’t even look at two whole sections. We are both a bit knowledgeable about art (I won’t even pretend I know as much her though, she did study it) so we can both look at a painting and see things of significance. If you prefer to scan, though, there are some which you really must see. I couldn’t take photos, so my faves are listed:
The Ambassadors – this is amazing, Renaissance 3D. The white thing in the bottom makes a lot of sense if you stand at the right of the painting and look at it from there. I won’t say anymore.
Whistlejacket - I mainly liked this cos I’m crazy on horses, but it’s a life-size painting of a horse. When will you ever get to see that?!
Madonna of the Pinks – This is a Raphael, and no true fan of the Ninja Turtles will turn that down. It’s actually a tiny painting, and the detail is stunning.
The Fighting Temeraire – The size of this is amazing, it’s a Turner (he is well famous in the art world) and the sunset is mindblowing if you’ve ever tried to paint a sunset.
Samson and Delilah – The detail on the cloth is so cool. You can feel the velvet.
There were more, but I can’t remember what they were. There is a girl in the gallery with all the Titian pictures who seems to jump out of the painting, which I’m desperate to find out the name of so I can get a postcard of it or something. It’s seriously good.
I left wanting to pull my easel out of the cupboard, where it got relegated at the beginning of third year when I realised I had to work even harder this year. I still itch to paint. Seriously, go.
Just an added note, don’t be put off by the number of religious paintings in the earlier centuries. It was a bit much, cos there are a lot, and they all depict much the same thing (and I’m a Christian). There are some true gems in there, both religious and secular (see the Old Woman for example).
Get the tube to Charing Cross station, and go out of the Trafalgar Square exit. You can’t miss it.