Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Paintings I Like, pt. 32

There was an article in the Times this weekend by Michael Kimmelman about the way that tourists race through art museums barely looking at the the things they pass, stopping only to snap low quality cell phone pics. The thinking is that this record insures they'll be able to study the pictures more closely at a later date - the assumption being the snapshot is the same thing as the original.

Of course I agree with Kimmelman's criticism of this kind of reasoning: seeing a picture in person is the only time you'll get a really good look at it; the size, the color, the texture or lack thereof, and on and on and on.

But then my wife found these grainy snaps we took during our visit to the Prado in 2002, and I felt just a little bit of the thrill that I got from seeing these pictures in the flesh for the first time.

Kimmelman's central argument still remains intact - that the average tourist is using the photos as a surrogate for the pictures and barely looking at them while at the museum. I looked at the Velazquez pictures long and hard before snapping these touristy pictures. But still, the pics serve as an excellent memory jog as to what it was like to be there.