Monday, July 22, 2013

Museumitis (April 2007)

 I know better than to go to four museums in one day.  I learned that lesson in Venice.  But the fact is that tomorrow I go back to a country that is something of a cultural black hole.  So with the minutes ticking down to zero, I decided the sore feet, legs, and often headaches that go with a sensory and information overload I like to call 'museumitis' would be worth it, if I could just cram in memories of a few more sculptures, paintings, and pots.

First I trekked over to the National Archaeological Museum.  The place was crammed with more pottery and sculpture fragments than I thought possible.  It was like everything anyone had ever found that could be identified as ancient Greek was brought in and put on display.  There were also a LOT of pieces I studied about in art history classes...my favorite being the 'Dipylon vase,' one of the most famous examples of the shift between geometric and figurative vase painting.  A lot of the pieces on display had been recovered from shipwrecks, and it was really sad for me to see what the ocean had done to these masterpieces (but I guess better than what early Christians did to some of the pieces that WEREN'T safely at the bottom of the sea, and vandals in general...most of the male statues were missing a rather important member of their anatomy).  Still, lots of cool stuff.

I took a lunch break and then hit the National Art Gallery.  I wasn't that impressed by it - maybe because I'd already hit my ability to take stuff in for the day, maybe just because it wasn't all that great.  Usually, in every art museum I'm in, I find something that stops me dead in my tracks and makes me laugh, or cry, or both.  Not the case here, so I didn't spend too much time before going to the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic...etc...art.  (I've been on a time-restrained schedule all day - the Archaelogical museum closed at 2:45, the art museum at 3, and the Gouldandris at 4....the Benaki is open til midnight and had free admission, so I took lots of sitting breaks when I got there).  The Goulandris had more ancient artwork, specifically anthropomorphic stone figures from the Cyclades, which were really cool.  I would have liked it a lot better if I'd seen it fresh.

Finally, the Benaki museum, which had more ancient stuff, some Greek Orthodox religious icons and accompanying stuff, and a really cool collection of Greek traditional costume.  That was really neat - they even had a couple of rooms set up with the furniture and decorations and everything.  I enjoyed that, but my feet were REALLY killing me (didn't make the best choice of footwear this morning, but I figured my feet were going to kill me anyway, so why not???) so I left there at about 5 past 4. 
Ancient sculptures of the Cyclades meets children's art
So the tally for the day:  Four museums.  Thousands and thousands of artworks.  About six hours of slow walking on my feet.  And zero cokes - aish!  No wonder I feel rough.  Time to go eat one more delectable Greek meal, maybe a bit more shopping, and an early night back at the hotel (maybe).

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