Monday, April 22, 2013

More Tate Modern

St. Paul’s and the Millennium Bridge from a 3rd floor balcony of the Tate Modern. 

Robin admires a beautiful painting Meredith Frampton.

A detail from the Miro shown below.

Miro. Goofy but I like it.

Tate Modern grounds and the Thames River. 

This part of the Tate Modern still looks like a power plant. Sometimes there are colossal sculptures in this area. 

Picasso’s wife in a very unflattering portrait. Be happy that these two young ladies are partially blocking the view.

I'll use this as a study for a painting. In the Lichtenstein exhibit there was an entire room dedicated to paintings of his based on other art, called Art About Art. 

I don't remember who this artist is, but it is one of my favorite paintings at the Tate.

Detail of the painting above.
When we left the Tate, we walked to the other side of the River and made our way to the Black Friar pub. We reasoned that we should have a cider there because we’ve never had a cider there. And because it’s an art masterpiece in itself. What could go wrong? More in the next blog.
One night at the Black Friar pub. . .

Tomorrow morning we take the Tube to Uxbridge and Brunel University where Robin has a meeting with her PhD supervisor. We return to Central London tomorrow afternoon, then to the Globe Theatre for the season’s opening night and The Tempest.

Tate Modern

The Tate Modern is one of my favorite galleries. It used to be a power house on the southern bank of the Thames. Now it’s a powerhouse art gallery. We’ve come to see the Lichtenstein Retrospective, but there’s lots of other great art on exhibit. We spent the entire afternoon here.

We took the Tube to Southwark Station, shown above. This remodeled station is just a few blocks from the Tate Modern

The entrance to the Lichtenstein exhibit in the Tate Modern. We have tickets at a reserved time slot, but there’s no line. Nice.

I was really impressed with this show and I’m an even bigger Lichtenstein fan now than before. He took copying other people’s art to a level of genius. 

Photography wasn’t allowed, but fortunately a couple of shots somehow appeared on my camera. I must have accidentally pushed a wrong button when I texted Robin to tell her where in the gallery I was. 

This is a detail of a Matisse at the Tate Modern. I kinda like it, but COME ON! 

A Picasso. 

Detail from the Picasso above. 

Another Picasso. As you can see, non-flash photography is allowed in the permanent exhibits. 

A mid-afternoon coffee break in the 6th floor cafe of the Tate provided a view of St. Paul’s across the river. I decided to sketch St. Paul’s and the Millennium Bridge. It’ll be a rough sketch, because I’m trying to loosen up. And because other people are hovering and waiting for this seat.

Stowe Gardens Part 2

More Stowe Gardens photos:

Ruins on the Cascade. I’m referring to the stone structure. 

Robin and Lynn, on the steps of the Queen’s Temple, discuss Othello as an invisible ha-ha enhances their landscape view.  

Looking at the map. 

Entering the grotto. 

The Temple of Ancient Virtue. 

After we left Stowe, we went to a great Indian restaurant for dinner, then Lynn and Neal dropped us off at the car park where we could catch the Oxford Tube bus back to Marble Artch in London. At Marble Arch station we made the last leg of journey with the Great Gatsby and some of his friends.

Stowe Gardens Part 1

Saturday was a perfect Spring day for wandering the paths of Stowe Gardens. Over 400 acres of beautiful grounds that contain a dozen monuments, pavilions, temples, a grotto, a fake ruin (very fashionable in the Romantic period, according to Lynn), a huge estate house, and an exclusive private school.

The previous owners of the estate (before it became the property of The National Trust) were wealthier than the King. When a Lord Whoever came for a visit, they would have a colossal column or temple built in his honor.

The landscape architecture makes use of a technique called ha-ha. To keep sheep and other livestock confined to certain areas without the visual distraction of walls and fences, hidden walls are made by digging trenches and building a hidden brick or stone wall. The ground level from that point on is several feet lower than the top of the wall. From the main house you can’t see the trenches or walls and the landscape looks like an uninterrupted flow of grassy fields, much like an infinity pool hides the pool’s edge and the water blends into the sky or sometimes the ocean. If you can afford a temple for a guest, you can certainly afford a ha-ha or two. I hate it when a fence or wall messes up the view from my mansion.

In 1786 Thomas Jefferson visited Stowe and wrote “The enclosure is entirely by ha! ha!”

Robin demonstrates her Quasimodo bell-ringing technique at The Bell Gate.
Or maybe that bell is a lot heavier than it looks.

Looking toward the main house which was completely rebuilt in late 1600s.

A pastoral setting indeed.

It’s always nice to include a Gothic temple on the property. 

The House of Friendship. Lord Cobham had this built so he’d have a nice little retreat for himself and his well-connected friends who belonged to the Kit Kat Club. This building had a cellar kitchen for the banquets they had here.   Several years later he built a similar building a half-mile away for his wife and her friends, with a direct line of site between the two buildings. Lord Cobham sounds like a much more fun chap than Lord Grantham over at Downton Abbey.

A Palladium Bridge crosses a stream. Italian architect Palladio was very hot at the time. 

Robin pauses in the archway of a fake ruin. Fake ruins were a must-have if you wanted to be cool.

The Pebble Alcove.

The mosaics in the Pebble Cove are made of pebbles. Lord Cobham, I like your style. 

Horse Stables Side Trip

Lynn and Neal were waiting for us at a nearby intersection. We hopped in their car and headed toward Stowe Gardens, a 400-acre estate that is now owned and maintained by the National Trust.

The arch ahead is the entrance to Stowe Gardens. We veered off to the right to visit their daughter Louise, who works at a nearby horse stable.

Louise is an experienced horse-person and dressage rider/trainer. She’s 26 and has never had any serious injuries, just a broken arm, a crushed elbow, and a fractured skull. She has a degree in architecture from the University of London, but decided to upgrade to horses. And dressage.

Neal and one of Louise’s associates point me to the next stable.

Robin and Louise spread the love.

Horses are big, beautiful creatures, but MaltiPoos and Golden Doodles are much easier to take care of... in case you’re trying to decide.

A quintessential English horse stable scene, I think.

Louise shows us the dressage training arena under construction. They currently put the horses in a horse box (love that term for “horse trailer”) and transport them to a nearby arena for exercise and training.

Louise and Neal do some horse-whispering stuff.

Back on the path, approaching Stowe Gardens.