Friday, July 31, 2015

Art and Audio

Unsurprisingly, I love an audio guide. I recently went on a holiday and got a hell of a lot more out of a visit to Château de Valencay due to an innovative audio guide ostensibly narrated by the château's 19th century owner Talleyrand. He led a colourful life by which I mean he had sex with a lot of different people. Hearing about this certainly made looking at his clocks and occasional tables more interesting.

The place where I find audio guides most helpful is in art galleries. 

I haven't always been a huge fan of art. I remember visiting my the National Gallery of Victoria with my sister when I was about 18. The highlight of the trip was when we stopped in front of this picture of a distressed ewe standing over her sick or dead lamb while being encircled by black crows who aren't offering to do CPR or get the defibrillator. The picture's called 'Anguish' and it's not very nice. We looked at it for a few moments, then my sister said, 'This is baaaaaaad'.

I found found that very funny. Ten minutes later I loudly declared 'I'm bored now'.

Ten years later I finally managed some art appreciation. I visited the National Gallery in Washington DC and got an audio guide. I found myself standing in front of Vermeer's painting Woman Holding a Balance. As I listened to the audio guide's description of the painting it helped me to see it and I got why it's considered a great painting. I wasn't bored!

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