diamond geezer

 Saturday, April 23, 2005

Excursion 10: National Gallery
As a finale to my week off in London, I stopped by at one of the capital's largest free attractions. The national repository of high art dominates the northern side of Trafalgar Square, from the monstrous carbuncle on the left to the boarded up portico to the right. Inside you can attempt to ponder the meaning of a millennium of art, from fat cherubs to blotchy irises. I won't go on about the gallery's contents because you've probably visited yourself but, for the record, the paintings drawing the largest crowds yesterday were Van Gogh's Sunflowers and Seurat's Bathers at Asnières. Equally as fascinating as the art were the multitude of bored gallery attendants, each sitting alone keeping watch over their designated room. One kept busy by doing a crossword, one yawned openly while scratching his chair, one was clearly eyeing up the passing talent, while another just stared at his knees and waited for his shift to end. The more sociable stood close to their gallery entrance so that they could gossip bitchily, but quietly, with a neighbouring attendant. In one small room a grey-haired jobsworth barked angrily at three tourists who'd dared to point their fingers too close to a minor masterpiece. There's certainly plenty to savour here, and it's not all on canvas.
by tube: Charing Cross

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