The Courtauld Gallery
The Courtauld Gallery is one of those places that I've been dying to visit for most of my life. My mom went to a Courtauld exhibit at the MET in the 80s, and I've consequently been surrounded by framed posters from it for most of my life. Manet's "Banks of the Seine at Argenteuil" has played a particularly important role, hanging in my room for years. Its blue shades instantly evoke calm and childhood happiness, and I've always wanted to see it in person.
A and I put our Saturday morning in London aside to visit the Courtauld with our friend Angela. We took our time going through the different floors of the gallery, and it truly proved to be the museum of my dreams. Small, exquisitely curated, heavy on Impressionism, and set in a beautiful building. I think I enjoyed Somerset House almost (almost!) as much as the art.
That being said, "Banks of the Seine at Argenteuil" did not disappoint, and the experience proved to be just as surreal as I'd imagined. My poster is bigger than the painting itself (coming to that realization as I stood in front of it was a very #American moment), but the vibrancy of the colors and movement of the brushstrokes come across so incredibly on canvas that I'm sorry that I didn't stand in front of it for longer. It's such a beautiful, peaceful painting.
So many of the paintings in the collection caught my attention, and I even found myself admiring an early Picasso. (I am, historically, not very fond of Picasso.) I can't wait to go back on future trips and give more time to the paintings I didn't have time to dwell over.