Sunday, 5 October 2008

A start

How many times have you been in a new city and wanted to go see a famous museum? Do you often find yourself frustrated by the crowds or unable to find the one painting you wanted to see? How many times have you left feeling like you've really seen nothing, or seen everything but understood nothing? Do you often go home with little to remember your trip by other than some overpriced crap at the giftshop (how many mousepads with Monet's waterlilies on them does one person need?)?

I've lived through this frustration myself, and I've also heard many friends and family members gripe about this with me.  I think it's actually possible to completely by-pass this frustration by building a guide to some of the world's best (and largest, and most over-crowded, and most over-heated or over-air conditioned) museums. Since I have the attention span of a 1st grader on a sugar high, my aim is to spend no more than 2 hours in any given museum. In addition to making a 'drive-by' pass at some of the most famous paintings and sculptures, I'm also going to seek out the often-forgotten but equally important pieces of art to try to build a complete "snapshot" of what each museum has to offer. That way, if the Mona Lisa is totally obscured by a wall of tourists, you can have a game plan for where to go instead so you haven't wasted your afternoon in the Louvre. And contrary to popular belief, there IS more to the Louvre than the Mona Lisa. 

I live in London, so we'll start there. Since I've been to a lot of London's best museums several times, this should be relatively easy. Each time I take a trip, I'll try to write-up my thoughts on any great museums we visit and how to tackle those as well. We'll see where this takes us. Also, I'll try to write up reviews of special exhibits that come through London.  I have a bachelor's degree in art history, and it's my first love, so most of the museums I visit will probably be art museums, but I also have a PhD (almost) in archaeology, so we may intersperse some ancient crap along with the Renaissance portraits.  Who knows.  I'm making this up as I go.  

Also, if I start to sound like Rick Steves, somebody put me out of my misery.

No comments: