Art museums are the vaunted halls of the learned (say that right, please...learn-ed), and there are lots of people, at least in the States, who don't get anything out of them. They feel uncomfortable there, because we've made them sacred temples...don't talk too loud, don't walk too fast, show reverence to the gods of Elementia and Principalis, and their prophets, daVinci and Van Gogh. Call me cynical, but I don't see this getting better anytime soon, because we've also managed to fuck up education - and don't even get me started...I'm an art teacher.
After hitting the Kremlin and Red Square, I decided to kill some time on my first day by riding the rails aimlessly, to see what I could find. I started at Okhotny Riad on the red line, it being the closest to the Kremlin, and went one stop. I got out, took a look around at Lubyanka Station, and walked to the transfer on the pink line, Kuznetsky Most. I went another station down the line, to Pushkinskaya, and then walked to its transfer, Chekhovskaya on the grey line. This time I got daring and decided to go for TWO stops, to Mendeleyevskaya. Once again, I got off and walked to the transfer station.
Some of the stations I'd been through thus far had opulence reminiscent of the Winter Palace. There were chandeliers and vaulted ceilings and art deco details. But I hadn't been blown away until I got to my next transfer, Novoslobodskaya.
I have to admit I found it a little hypocritical, this enshrinement of art for the people, particularly when I noticed authors or artists in the sculptures and stained glass. Communism and intellectualism aren't exactly friends (if you don't know your history) and although my understanding of that period of human history is not as strong as I would like it to be, I have a feeling that if its leaders had taken better care of their intelligentsia, communism wouldn't have failed quite as direly as it did. The fact that these professions are depicted at all is a bit surprising to me, since a lot of the art seems pretty propagandistic (if that's not a word, I'm making it one), with the working people...with their children, and their dogs, and their chickens, and their jackhammers, and their guns...showing up a lot. But I guess it's the thought that counts.
That satisfied most of my interest in the metro system, but there was one more thing I wanted to check out: the Aquarelle train.
I spent about 50 minutes waiting for that train this afternoon. Under other circumstances, I might be a little bitter about wasting my time, but hell, I'm on vacation, and I'd already seen my big 2 things AND found the Krispy Kreme (mmmmm, donuts!) As an added bonus, the station that I spent all that time waiting in was Ploschad Revolyutsii, and even though it definitely didn't take 50 minutes to check out all the sculptures in the station, I never got tired of watching people interact with them. Since they were bronze, you could tell where people had touched the sculptures, as the oil in their hands wore off the patina from the metal. The dogs in the sculptures got the most love, and just about everyone who walked past them patted the dog's nose. Some of them just reached out in passing, but others actually set down their parcels to take a moment to pet him.
I'm not much of a dog person, but even I thought that was sweet.