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  • stephenjrountree

My Favorite Places – Tate Britain.

Oh yeah, the young, free spirited Tate Modern has an older sister who cannot only offer deeper, more mature conversation, but is just as beautiful as her younger sister, and in fact, is the one who showed her little sister how to put on make-up. This museum is five hundred years of British art.

What’s fun here at the Tate Britain is their walk-through-time rooms. It’s British art from the 1500's to today, organized chronologically. It's very Mary Poppinsish the way you jump into the 1500's art and don't come out until the present day. In some museums, it's surprising when you have a room all to yourself, but in this museum, it's surprising when you don't, unless you consider the art student spread out on the floor doing a charcoal sketch as sharing.

One of my favorite paintings, Ophelia, by Sir John Everett Millais, depicts a scene from Shakespeare's Hamlet, that of a girl singing in a stream before she drowns. I love just sort of taking off my shoes and high-watering my jeans above my ankles and dipping my feet into the stream next to her. Like all great art, what she's saying is don't say anything at all and just listen. Good travel is good listening. I’ll link below to the Tate’s lovely article called, “Look Closer, the Story of Ophelia”. It’s a good read.

Then there's the Tate Britain’s collection of Turners, which is the largest collection of Turners in the world.

For me, Turner was my missing link between traditional and modern art. Turner paints enough remnant of traditional art to where you start to see why art had to change. The Davincis of the world had done their duty, and when the old masters packed such genius into one canvas, someone likeTurner had to come along and pick apart those paintings, diving deeper into single parts of it, like the color red, or, why the outline of a ship means more than a detailed photograph in 6k.

What specific part of the soul does that stimulate, evoke, pull at, pinch, sting.

If you've never trusted modern art, take some extra time in this collection, and allow it to argue in modern art's favor. Give it a shot. It'd be pretty cool to me if London got the credit for turning you on to modern art. I wonder if that's why they call him “Turner”.

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