Wednesday, August 26


I promise to show Eitan and Madeleine some of my favorite things in London and both automatically assume, correctly - museum. So here we are at the National Gallery in the impressionist wing looking at the van Goghs, Monet's, Pissaros and Cezannes. I ask them to describe the paintings and the emotions they evoke. Madeleine able to catch a vibe and notes that van Gogh's clouds "sort of sad" which is fair enough given that he had cut off his ear and committed himself to Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, a mental hospital in Provence. It is easy to see his gloom even though his paintings of fluffy clouds floating over fecund wheat might seem otherwise. My favorite today is Degas's "Combing the Hair ('La Coiffure') which Madeleine and I stare at for a few moments - the painting shocking for its colours instead of the simple story. Degas uses bright reds for the two characters and his backdrop, which demands attention and stands out in the gallery. The kids do a good job reciting tidbits of stuff they remember from the classroom. Eitan: "van Goph painted some flowers ('Sunflower') to put into his guest room for his friend Goen (I think Gauguin) so it would cheer him up. He (van Goph) died in 1890". Not bad.

My favorite guilty pleasure of London is the ten minute visit to a museum to see one or two painting. It's a gluttony, I admit, but after years of feeling obligated to
trapse through galleries meaning nothing the mid-afternoon quickie something to rejoice.

Since pictures forbidden inside the museum I had to snap this one quickly.