Wednesday, December 05, 2001

Holland ... low point, surprisingly enough, as I suggested it, was going to the Picasso exhibition. This was a series of surreal paintings loaned by Madrid to celebrate a visit to the Netherlands by the Spanish Royal Family. Seeing as Steve had never seen a real Picasso, and I'm not sure whether I had either, we went. The exhibition was stupendous, though the picture which really stuck in my mind was Dali's "The Enigma of Hitler" painted in 1939. But after carefully going round the pictures, I felt disoriented, I had to look at some "real" pictures - landscapes, sea battles, lots of flat Dutch stretches, to get back to normal. I found that quite disturbing.

High point was finding a smaller, quieter, more familiar exhibition - Escher prints. It was a tiny gallery on one side of a square with plane and lime trees and shops: there was an amateur cafe in the basement. That exhibition had been carefully designed to appeal to the family: good clear explanations, a rather blurred video which I didn't really like showing computer models of Escher's buildings in a rather bland landscape, then rotating the buildings so they could be seen from different angles, and the piece de resistence - computer puzzles to do your own Eschers. It's extremely difficult! On the other hand, after almost buying up the entire Escher gift shop, I now have my very own Escher towel.

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