Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Look at the hands"

A couple of Silver-Haired Old Ladies in the National Portrait Gallery (Tudor section):

SHOL 1: Look at the hands, they're very important. They're the most detailed part, can you see?

SHOL 2: Yes they're... aren't they big.

SHOL 1: Hands were very important then. Can you see the detail?

SHOL 2: Look at that ring.

SHOL 1: His seal, that's his seal. I love the way he clasps his together.

SHOL 2: Thin fingers.

SHOL 1: They intertwine don't they? Yes. As though he's praying.

SHOL 2: Why is he praying?

SHOL 1: He isn't.

SHOL 2: He could be.

SHOL 1: Yes. But he isn't. One wouldn't pray whilst having one's portrait painted.

SHOL 2: He could be pretending.

SHOL 1: Let's move on. Oh, now this is Henry VII. (PAUSE) Look at the hands...

That's the best thing about art galleries: sod the paintings, look at the people.

Or the hands.


Faris said...

Absolutely agree - listening to the people who have mysteriously become experts on art is by far the most entertaining part of going to a gallery.

My favourite line ever - heard from, as such twaddle often is, a boy attempting to impress a girl:

I've always felt this piece has a kind of gnomic impenetrability.

Translation: I've no idea what this is about.

Martin said...

"Gnomic", as you say, often used in the most 'intellectual' of contexts.
Yet it always leaves me with images of small, brightly coloured pot figures with beards, pointy hats and fishing rods, sitting round an old person's garden pond.