Last week I returned home to Boston following a two-week vacation that included staying in Barcelona, Paris and London.
In London, Joe and I happened to be walking past the National Portrait Gallery on our way to somewhere else when something in the doorway caught our eye. Hmmm, that looks interesting, we thought. In London, museums are free to visit. That made it very easy to decide to just pop in. If you haven’t a lot of time to spare, you can afford to pop in without the commitment of having to stay and, well, get your money’s worth. That’s something I really appreciate about London museums and it strikes me as a mark of civility. (Boston museums, are you listening?)
That said, we ended up spending about three completely unanticipated hours in the portrait gallery. It was the most impressive collection of portraits I’ve ever seen. I’ve actually never even been all that interested in human portraiture, but the quality and the range of work was mind-blowing. I loved it.
Later that day, we trekked over the Millennium Bridge (shown above) to the Tate Modern. After a few hours of wandering around absorbing the artworks, a very strong feeling came over me. I began to notice how myself and all the visitors there were quietly milling about from place to place, from image to image, all immersed in our own worlds. It particularly hit me in the collection display called Poetry and Dream. It was so easy to become introspective in that collection and the mood of the people around me seemed positively soft and dreamy. It occurred to me that we rarely get to experience meandering around and connecting with our feelings and spirits like this in any other public venue.
Here’s a scene from the sixth floor cafe of the Tate Modern. From here, you can enjoy a sandwich, cookies or a beverage (by the way, they have a full bar) with this fabulous view across the Thames.
Paula Ogier Artworks