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29: Picking a Master

sunny 28 °C
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Got going nice and early today as I wanted to cram into my day the Alte and Neue Art Galleries as well as the Deutsches Museum.

Headed down town via the now very well used S Bahn to start with the Alte Art Gallery. The Alte and Neue (Old and New) Art Galleries in Munich were built by Ludwig I King of Bavaria (Grandfather of the Mad King Ludwig). The collections are based on Ludwig’s original collection.

The Alte Gallery is for artwork up until the 19th Century. I had no preconceptions of what sort of art work I would see in the galleries I had just looked up my trusty guide book for “three starred” attractions and wanted to make sure I saw the best of the best. Well both the Alte and the Neue managed to more than live up to their “three starred titles”. Because I had no preconceptions I chose to just take my audio guide and just start wandering.. quite different to how I chose to see the Hermitage… I had read extensively on what art works and artists were displayed and deliberately went hunting certain works.. This time around I just moseyed my way around the gallery stopping whenever the fancy took me.

Therefore after walking through a couple of rooms I came to this dark red walled room and had my usual glance around. Immediately a couple of works really drew my eye.. As I got up closer I realised that all of the works I thought were impressive were all from the great masters of Italy.. It was such a pleasant surprise (bordering on shock) to discover a Da Vinci just hanging on the wall.. no pomp, no hoard of people (ala the Hermitage).. just this gorgeous painting sitting at eye level near the exit door with absolutely no one standing or pushing their way up to the painting. It was absolutely glorious to be able to sit down on a chair in front of a great work of art and spend as long as I wanted admiring it! The room also housed a Botticelli and many many works from Raphael. I was most impressed by the Botticelli and the Da Vinci.. the Raphael’s were good but…………….

And that’s the thing that I now totally understand.. the great masters are… well… absolutely great! You can easily tell who the master artists are if you walk through a gallery like the Alte or the Neue.. You walk into a room, do a small twirl in the middle and slowly look at each of the paintings.. I can guarantee after being to a couple of art galleries you will be able to tell who are the masters and who are just attempting to emulate them!

The Alte also housed works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Caravagio, and El Greco.. And I’m proud to say that I was able to pick them all out.. It is just fantastic that for such a small amount of money you can actually see these works of art.. Gosh I’d love to have them hanging on my wall at home.. they are so beautiful!

After ogling at the Alte for a couple of hours I headed across the road to the Neue. I knew a bit more about the Neue—well to be honest the main reason I was going to galleries today is because I wanted to see more Van Gogh—and the Van Gogh’s are all in the Neue.

The Neue just houses works from the 19th Century. The Neu was set out quite differently from the Alte in that each master had his own space where his work was displayed.. (there didn’t seem to be as much jumbling together which made my game of guess the artist a fair bit easier!) I again spent plenty of time just admiring the Van Gogh’s on offer. The Neue had one of Van Gogh’s Sun Flower paintings as well as two farm scenes and surprisingly one of his earlier works that is painted in a more traditional style (not the little tiny flicks of paint that add up to a beautiful painting). The Neue also has Monet, Cezanne, Gaugin and Matisse and many German artists from the 19th C.

I’m not the hugest Monet fan but I did discover a really interesting thing about his paintings today.. when you stand up close to them they are just a bunch of strokes and sploshes of colour… you step back a couple of metres and you can see the painting.. you step into the next room and the painting just comes alive! The greater the distance the better the painting looks—so much more expression to the painting!

By the time I had finally left the Neue it was well passed my late lunch time and was nearing 4pm so I had to stop and have a bite to eat. By the time lunch was over (Caesar salad w Chicken) I had to resign myself to missing the Deutsches Museum.. It was going to close at 6pm and I knew that the 40min or so I had left wouldn’t even scratch the surface.. I’ll just have to add it to my “next time” list!

Rounded out my day by doing some window shopping before heading back to my hotel for a hot shower and some internetting. All in all one of the most satisfying and peaceful of days!

Posted by weary_feet 08:59 Archived in Germany

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