26 October 2006

National Gallery

The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square houses "one of the greatest collections of European painting in the world. These pictures belong to the public and entrance to see them is free".
That's one of the things that are so paradoxical about London: No matter how expensive everything is (a theatre ticket might cost 25 £ at least, a tube single ticket 3 £, a student transport card for a year 650 £), there are still places, mostly museums, where you can get in for free.

I tried to find a public library network which is similar to ours in Vienna, where you pay 3 € per year as a student. Interestingly, though, I couldn't find anything comparable. It seems as if you have to pay at least 100 £ to become member of a borough library, you need to bring a reference (by a teacher, a tutor) to become a member and entrance is not open to the public. So obviously, in the UK or at least in London, you are encouraged to go the museum instead of a library.

Among others, I went to see Canaletto (whose love for detail is absolutely stunning), Venus and Mars by Boticelli (I remembered how I loved renaissance in my art classes, I marveled at that painting for at least 15 minutes), the Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck, William Turner (who Prof Hartinger held in very high regard) and C├ęzanne. I wanted to see the sunflowers (my favourite flowers!) by Van Gogh too but I would have had to return to Level 2 (the famous Sainsbury Wing) from the Ground Floor (where I expected a lift) to take the lift to Level -2 (where they keep everything from Manet to Picasso) and that was just too much for my poor high heel tortured feet. But since the museum is free anyway, I can return to it whenever I desire to!

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