Taking the Scenic Route

The Art Museum

18th August 2008

The Art Museum

posted in Art, Cologne/Koln, Germany, Travel |

Irony: The Art Museum is one of the only places there are no pictures of.

We truncated short our visit to the Cathedral so that we could get to the Art Museum. We walked to the nearest Museum from the Cathedral, but upon entering, it was obviously the Modern museum. I knew the German-Roman Museum next to it wasn’t where we wanted to either, so asked the guy at the desk, who directed us to the other museum, another 5 minute walk. We booked it as fast as our legs could carry us, despite the blisters starting to really flare on my feet. We got to the museum we wanted, with only 40 minutes to go through the museum. An impossible task, but I knew I might not get a second chance, so we paid the admission and started on the top floor, where the impressionist where, and worked my way down to the first floor, where the earliest works were.

It was, honestly, some of the best 40 minutes of my life. I was so overwhelmed I was wiping back tears as I stood there seeing the paint strokes, the areas with thicker paint, seeing where a brush was lifted, where paint was applied with multiple colors on the brush, and seeing the full masterpieces instead of just the pictures on the pages of my Art books. We saw sculptures of Degas and Rogin, sketches and paintings of Rembrant, and I stood in front of an enourmous water lily painting by Monet. Many of the paintings, including the Monet and Rubens, were out in the open so that you could get up close to them and really see the paint, see the texture of it. If you wanted to, and there were no guards watching, you could have touched them, I mean, you probably wouldn’t want to touch the actual paint, but you could probably touch the canvas if you were overwhelmed and not thinking clearly. Of course there were guards next to the Rubens. There were so many names and painting I was so familiar with, both famouse and not as well known, and it was almost shocking to see them in real life.

We made it down to the first floor, those old Christian Iconic art that was, honestly, something I just “got through” when studying art. It never really held my interest when studying it, and the only images that really stuck in my brain where the ones Monty Python used in his shows. Much to my shock, those pictures had a life in them I never imagined. What looks flat and not particularly intersting in a book, jumps out at you in stunning life when you see them. The gold appeared to be painted with actual gold, so that as you moved, the color subtly shifts. The details really pop, the faces look smooth and photographic almost. I was really taken aback by work that I had so iritably dismissed for so many years.

When the call came over the speakers that the museum would close in 15 minutes, the only thing that pulled me away from them was my desire to look at some of the Rubens again. There were about 3 of them there that had really captured me…huge, enourmouse paintings. Much bigger than I had ever imagined them to be. I stood there and just absorbed them in the short time we had left.

It would take me a week to really, truly, “look” at all the paintings and sculpture. I wish I would have the time, but I am so thankful we just went for it, even at the unmerciful pace. It is a life changing experience to see paintings like that. (at least for me it was. So many years of studying art and it all seemed worth it in those 40 minutes)

This entry was posted on Monday, August 18th, 2008 at 6:22 AM and is filed under Art, Cologne/Koln, Germany, Travel. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

There is currently one response to “The Art Museum”

  1. 1 On August 18th, 2008, Mia said:

    I’ve had this experience in museums, too–they just open me up completely, and I find myself thinking about bigger and better things, rather than just “what am I going to feed the children for lunch,” and “is that laundry clean or dirty?” I totally hear you on this! Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you are having such a great trip.

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