Friday, July 01, 2005

Change of Plans

Well, today wasn't quite the day I expected it to be, largely as a result of weather-related eventualities. I've still really enjoyed myself pottering around the sights of Berlin, where there is always a lot to do. This afternoon I spent most of my time in the Gemäldegallerie; it's a nice enough gallery, although I think it falls into the usual trap of art galleries everywhere - namely, that art is interesting because it is art, when actually most of the paintings are pretty uninspired. Then again, maybe in most people's eyes my opinions count for nothing because I find many of the great southern European artists of the Renaissance highly boring.

Instead, I have a preference for much Northern European art - far more simple and devotional, in my mind, and as such makes its points far more clearly. There weren't many paintings that caught my eye, but those that did were well worth the entry fee. In particular, the German artists' altar pieces were fascinating. The one of John the Baptist, with the murderer, Salome, and all other onlookers unable to watch the beheading was very telling. Similarly, a triptych with Christ sitting on high, with scenes of extreme violence on one side and the scene of the Garden of Eden on the other was superb in its message - that there is redemption, and the detail demonstrated that even in idyllic scenes there is sin, and in the darkest scenes there is still good.