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::yawns:: I guess it would have been too much to ask to be eased gently from holiday-mode into work-mode.

Woke up from a nightmare today where - my sister, I think - killed someone and I spent the the best part of the dream trying to get rid of a plastic bag with (curiously small) body parts. Very relieved to wake up, let me tell you. That's what you get when you're wishing for 'real' nightmares instead of university/work related anxiety dreams. :)

~


Brief holiday summery.

# Lazy, lazy, lazy. Never even made it to Maishofen, stayed in Salzburg the whole two weeks.

# The single exeption from the general & completely embarrassing laziness was a lot of Russian learning. Once I actually brought myself to open the book & put the CD into the CD player, I really enjoyed it, or at least it wasn't a chore & gave me the sense of having achieved something and actually using my brain for once; I don't know why I kept putting off and off and off until I'd forgotten so much, for one and a half months. My brain works in strange and unfathomable ways. [ETA a couple of tiring work days (& coming home completely braindead) later... oh wait. Question answered.] Repeated, wrote a lot/много писала, and I mean a lot, used up almost a whole spiral notebook, the next person to use the recycling bin is going to wonder, because as it was I couldn't spell at all without checking with the textbook over and over, and sadly knowing how to pronounce the word rarely helps (*is nostalgic for Spanish*), browsed a bit through the rest of our textbook and went through the first six tracks of my vocabulary CD [новые слова изучала]. I hate the early stages of a language when you're hitting walls with every step & can't say anything beyond, Меня зовут Вероника, живу в Вене, русский язык изучаю, because you're lacking the grammar and words. Grr.

At one point, when I was tinkering with my TW fic I started to write g's for d's and cyrillic s's and for a moment couldn't remember how to write a latin one. *headdesk*

# Reading: Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus (reread), and then The Making Of Die Entstehung des Doktor Faustus (new) & more about that later, because the desire to say something even remotely intelligent and coherent is what keeps me from hitting 'post' since Monday-ish; maybe when I've also reread the relevant diary years. Still very brilliant; still completely heartbreakingly sad. Struggled through the music passages like always with only a very shadowy understanding, because my theoretical knowledge stops at being able to read a (simple) score, but repeatedly caught myself at the thought that I must get the CDs. ::facepalm::

Finished Modern Nature and started Smiling in Slow Motion (rereads; & btw, watched The Garden just before I left, which is eerily, elegically beautiful & which I'm going to take a gazillion screencaps of for my screensaver folder to replace the current Torchwood wallpapers); read Dostojewskij's Aufzeichnungen aus dem Kellerloch (one of those books that are just a bit too close for comfort, even if you're aware of enough distance and difference not to actually identify) and Vladimir Sorokin's Der Himmelblaue Speck (No comment here; so far I've always liked his novels, but this was just crazy, and not a little shocking; I've no idea where, if anywhere, he's going with it; probably I've missed the point completely.)

Tried to reread Mrs Dalloway, but while I still love Virgininia Woolf's prose, I can't seem to focus. I stare at a paragraph for minutes, starting over and over, and my mind keeps drifting, I've no idea why.

# Discovered to my complete shock & amazement that I was still fit enough to run through the park, down the whole Hellbrunner Allee and back again without a break. More morning runs. A bit of biking around, to Bad Reichenhall and, once, around the Untersberg, this with a lot of ups & downs, geographically speaking.

# A bit of uninspired (everything too lush & green, too neat & picturesque) photography, although with some surprisingly nice results when I least expected them. Or at least that's what I thought when I quickly looked through the pictures yesterday.

# Watched some old school DW, Genesis of the Daleks, which was a bit... um, archaic?, and, er, maybe kind of stiff when you haven't grown up with it, but I can totally see the cult potential (although I think I prefer modern day Sarah Jane), and City of Death, which I genuinely enjoyed (without politely phrased reservations); funny, with Douglas Adams' touch very recognisable.

# Day-trip to Munich, Lenbachhaus and Pinakothek der Moderne. The former — lots of early Kandinsky landscapes; lovely but almost impossible to appreciate hanging side by side like that, one explosion of colour after another, impossible to chose; frustration at the sudden complete block in my mind at his abstract paintings, fighting my stupid and too literal brain for something like fifteen minutes, trying to make some kind of connection, with some success, but no real understanding. It's strange, or maybe more precisely, fascinating how these things work, or don't work. Earlier that morning I had the rather unsettling experience of looking at a painting and suddenly it kind of... dissolved and all I could see was strokes of paint on a canvas, and it meant nothing at all. It passed, but wtf, brain? Münter, Jawlensky, Marc; Klee, lovely - mystery and subtle humour. Sitting in the garden, the sun coming out after a rainy morning, writing this into my notebook, the square paving stones of the path, greyish- brown, with moss and the occasional small plant growing between them, like a Klee painting. Nothing that I completely loved, but a lot that I liked.

The Pinakothek - More expressionism, since it fit the theme of the day, skipped most of the rest.

# All the time the underlying (although not very worrying) question, why all this, what am I trying to find in all those, books, stories, art — distraction, entertainment, truth, a better understanding of life? Coupled with the suspicion that it all isn't quite real, quite essential, at least looking at it (creating might be different); but what is? The obvious answer is children, but I don't have the least desire for a child. So. ::shrugs:: Also a certain restlessness, dissatisfaction with the sameness & repetition; I think I need a out-of-Austria holiday soonish.

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Back home after a lovely week with [livejournal.com profile] soavezefiretto, in my own boring & sgnificantly less cool than hers flat, among unpacked bags both recent and still lying around since before I left. Sigh.

And it's back to work tomorrow, too.


mustthinkpositivethoughtsthinkpositivethoughts

solitary_summer: (schlosser: birds)

I've become so very lazy, or is it distracted by... what exactly? I have a hard time remembering what it is I'm actually wasting my time on these days. It isn't even DVDs. Crappy books, random internet activities, and it's truly amazing how much time you can waste on youtube. A new summer livejournal layout which I'm still not so sure I actually like, but what exactly did I do yesterday except shop for groceries and go jogging? Sad. I'm having an incredibly hard time to concentrate on writing anything at all. I really do hope I'll become a little more focused again once I'm 100% healthy.

This dates back from Madrid, mostly written there, somewhat edited for (attempted) coherency.

Looking at art; learning to. (Learning to look at life, too?)

cut for excessive rambling )
solitary_summer: (apples)

::groan:: The lack of updates this week is mainly a result of absolute exhaustion, whatever the reason for that may be. I've been sleeping for 8-10 hours, and am still dead when the alarm rings. Also, and perhaps not entirely unrelated, I'm vaguely worried about the results of the blood test which I'll get on Tuesday...


Right. I ought to write something about my time in Madrid, oughtn't I? Except that... I find myself oddly unwilling, or perhaps unable to, which may seem strange coming from the person who can babble for paragraphs on end about book X or tv show Y, but there it is. I could tell the facts, but that would be lacking something important....

But happily [livejournal.com profile] soavezefiretto, who is a wise, perceptive woman, and a much better writer than I am, has written a beautiful and very true entry, so I'll just point everyone there, in case you're interested.

I can only add that while she was at work, I did the touristy thing and visited the great art museums -- which I will probably talk about at length, because talking about art is easy.

Life is infinitely more complex and confusing, something I've hidden from for too long, perhaps.

She's right, it was too short, and I feel that mostly I'm to blame, my awkwardness when it comes to personal relationships. I'm such a hermit usually that it embarrasses me to talk about it; it's been years and years that I've even been on vacation with someone who wasn't family. I often feel so ignorant and incompetent, mustn't say anything stupid, mustn't say anything wrong and then of course I end up babbling and saying extremely stupid things regardless. And part of me still wonders why someone like her, who inspires me and makes me look at the world in different and better ways, would even want to have something to do with someone as flawed as me.



And I already feel myself slipping away from the state of awareness, back into the lethargy of my life...



Good things this week, regardless:

Looking up from the entrance of our shop, the sliver of sky, limited by the houses on either side of the narrow street, an exquisite, achingly beautiful shade of blue.

Scent of the Maiglöckchen I got for birthday from my sister.

The RHCP, whose music makes me very happy at the moment. They're not for European winters, but I fall in love with them every summer all over again.

Looking forward to watching Firefly and Serenity, which are already lying on a chair, but I've been putting off watching, so that it may not be over so soon. Um. I never said I wasn't weird.

I'm also content that I can be genuinely happy for my sister's pregnancy now, without a shade of petty jealousy or envy. And, I might add, we had an absolute squee & giggle fest today sorting out our old baby clothes for her baby...
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::sigh:: I don't really want to, but if I don't write it now, it'll get relegated to notepad & remain half-finished forever... In any case even this is preferable to proof-reading G.'s really quite horrible English.

10. - 16. 6., just for personal reference )

Also, pictures, in case anyone is interested. Mostly I'm not really satisfied with them, too touristy, too shiny, there was never any time to really chose a motif, and I'm really not familiar enough with my camera & its functions.

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[ edited & typed: 07-12 ]


:: They seem to be helpful about the broken glasses, though there's nothing definite yet. It's still an annoyance, I don't really want to spend my last day worrying about that & chasing after a person who might actually be in charge. ::

Monday = museums are closed, hence lots of churches I'd avoided so far. Which have rather restricted opening hours, too, no idea if that's a protestant or a scandinavian thing. I'm under the impression that churches at home are kept open as a rule, except for the night, but then again, i might be mistaken; it's not as if i'm a regular visitor.

Anyway. Found a functioning city bike & pedalled off...

Holmes Kirke: nice. There were a couple of people in there who appeared to be praying though, so I got only a rather cursory look.

Vor Frue Kirke (cathedral): very white and very classicist; there's a reason why I skipped the Thorvaldsen museum. However there are some more modern additions - electric chandeliers, stands for devotional candles, the organ - of minimalist, almost severe design, that temper the classicism somewhat and create a quite pleasing general impression.


:: I don't really like those half-days at the end of vacations when you've got to catch your flight home at some point... I tend to get emotional and melancholy, neither quite here or quite there... part of me wishes I could either stay or were on the airport already. I'm just too exhausted already. ::


Vor Frelsers Kirke: airy and light with large windows, setting off the baroque elements, especially the altar, beautifully. Very impressive carved late 17th century organ supported by elephants. Climbed the tower - a staircase, then steep wooden stairs, the last hundred steps or so on a spiralling staircase running along the outside of the spire, and did I ever mention I am afraid of heights? The fact that the tower had only recently been thoughrouthly restored offered some reassurance though, and the view is very much worth it.

The Royal reception rooms in Christiansborg Slot: modern, as the palace is only early 20th century, but rather nice, we had a German-speaking guide, who was quite funny, too. The newly restored Knight's Hall has modern tapestries by Bjørn Nørgaard commissioned by Queen Margarethe II, that cover the Danish history since the Viking age in great detail. The guide told us the artist had asked for total freedom for the design, which he was granted, and so the 19th century tapestry includes the rise of the socialist movement and a portrait of Karl Marx. I'd love to see something like that done at home - Austrian politicians and public would be in an uproar for months over every single figure to be included or not to be included, and that's not even touching on the probable controversy about the style...

[panorama view]

Finally got to look at the modern part of the Royal library, which is amazingly beautiful and offers a great view of the harbour... I'd really like to work there. :: insert nostalgic sigh :: way beats the stuffy reading rooms of our national library.


Sitting on the wooden steps in front of the library on the harbour front, watching the water busses and tourist boats dock and undock... sun warmed wood at my back, chill wind... feeling decidedly melancholy and unwilling to leave, though I'm not quite sure if it's because of the place I'm going to leave or the place (& life) I'll have to return to.


Walked to the Fredriksberg gardens in the time remaining, rather nondescript baroque palace that serves as a military academy, regretted for a moment that I hadn't gone to the zoo after all, what with the hassle over the glasses. Pretty park with a chinese tea house not open to the public. (or not open today, whichever)


The flight home was annoying, screaming children, annoying women next to me who first talked me out of my window-seat and then chatted with her husband across the aisle and popped her chewing gum all of the time, irritated stewardesses... but then, catching glimpses of the sunset as we were flying south, it struck me (though perhaps that's not all that original) that it was rather preposterous how we're sitting there, something that has been an age old dream of humanity not only realised but taken for granted and reduced to banality, being served small meals, people bitching about there being no coffee... but maybe that's only natural and I'm being melodramatic.

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[ edited and typed: 07-13 ]


:: 9.55 am: Arken, in front of the museum, waiting for them to open, along with some other people. Slightly shivering & definitely underdressed for this weather. And really, why do these museums have to be so far from the station? :: groans :: Or more to the point, why do I insist on walking rather than just take the bus? But even at home I hate waiting for public transport and the feeling of dependency using it, and I do enjoy noticing details I would miss otherwise and getting a sense of distances and direction. The latter part of the path led through a rather pretty coastal march landscape, too. But still, another 2-3 km walk and my legs are still slightly aching from all the aimless running around I did yesterday.

Grey, overcast skies, a chilling wind. ::


The architecture is really pretty spectacular, right down to the toilets; the café has a nice view of the sea. If I had to compare though, I really prefer the extension wing of the National Gallery, because there the impression you get is that it's been designed first and foremost to serve its function as best as possible and is beautiful almost as an afterthought, or maybe because of that. The Arken museum is rather more self-indulgent, aiming to be a work of art in and of itself, with all the theoretical concept & recurring ship metaphors. That's not to say, though, that it isn't impressive, especially the approach to the entrance and the main gallery with its optical illusion...

The actual collection? :: shrugs :: Not my cup of tea, but then I expected that... I'm rather surprising myself by saying this, but I mostly came out to look at the architecture. No, seriously.


Took the bus back to the station. Go me. Or rather, not.

By train to Roskilde, the weather still hadn't cleared up, dreary, cold, though it at least wasn't raining, which was probably to be expected, seeing as I had not only bought, but taken along the umbrella (unlike the sweater I might have actually needed). The town itself was rather dead on a cold Sunday like that, the cathedral impressive from the outside, gothic for the most part, with some more recent additions, inside brick and white paint, colour only used to emphasise the architectural structure, except for the sidechapels, some of which are covered with frescoes in light, pastel colours; organ and pulpit the same intricately carved, painted & gilded woodwork I've seen before. More graves of Danish kings and queens than i could be bothered to identify.

Made my way down to the harbour and the Viking ship museum, stared at the preserved remains of a couple of Viking ships with a sense of archaeological duty, but decided lack of enthusiasm. Tired, with aching feet, at only 2 pm the day felt it'd been going on forever. Found a coffee machine, which even sold 'Wiener Melange'; dosed myself up with two of those and the remaining M&Ms, but even the sugar & caffeine high didn't really jerk me out of my listless state of mind. Ambled along the harbour and up to some obviously very old church, which was - unsurprisingly - closed. Tiny old houses, flowers everywhere, everything so pretty and picturesque it hurt.

Caught the train back to Copenhagen, took a shower at the hotel, found that apparently the cleaning person had dropped my glasses, because the right lens was gone. The guy at the reception desk said he'd inquire. :: sigh ::

Found myself one of those city bikes and biked along the harbour, sat on the harbour wall pretty much where I'd been on the first day, moodily staring across the water... melancholy, too.

Guy at the reception said he found out nothing, not that I'd expected much. Really had no idea what to do or not to do in such a case, so I called my sister, who said I should definitely complain and try to have them pay the replacement (:: conflicted sigh :: i hate making a fuss), so I went back, explained the story yet again to someone who was helpful, but not in charge either, but gave me the name of the manager who was supposed to be in tomorrow...

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[ edited & typed: 07-19 ]


Louisiana Museum of Modern Art:

:: Very green, very lush gardens, swallows swooping low over the lawn; a gull crying. Still cloudy with a chill wind, but the clouds have broken and the sun glitters on the sea near the Swedish coast. Tiny waves lapping on the beach, and when the sun comes out for a moment it's quite warm. ::

Beautiful as it is, the museum did nothing to diminish my absolute lack of understanding as regards modern and more specifically abstract art. I was wandering through the collections with a growing sense of bafflement tinged with guilt for my ignorance, but if nothing else the sculpture garden was very much worth the visit, the way the works of art blend into the natural surroundings.

:: Later. Sitting in a rather secluded spot on what may be some kind of sculpture or just part of the architecture, back against the wall, sun quite hot on my face for the moment, looking across the bushes and trees at the Swedish coast, a tanker, a sailboat crossing slowly. Sound of the waves, smells of the sea. Bluebells. ::



Ordrupgaard Museum:

Arrived rather tired, after a 3/4 hr walk from the station; country house in a beautiful small park; small, but nice museum. I don't much care for the French painting, but the Danish collection was interesting, some very beautiful landscapes by L. A. Ring, painted with extreme precision, but having an air of the symbolic without seeming constructed...

:: Sitting in some semi-secluded spot in the park in the sun, a meadow with long grass, all kinds of wild flowers, butterflies; unwilling to go on, go back, take the train to the other museum I was planning on visiting. Hating the self-created rush that doesn't really allow you to enjoy places for as long as you'd like. I once used to ignore the pressure and just enjoy the moment, whatever it was, but my interests have broadened since and when you're paying for the vacation yourself, suddenly it does matter and you want to see as much as possible in the week or so you've got. Not sure whether I should resent this or not.... Moments like snapshots. Got bitten by the largish local mosquito variety. Ouch.::


With hindsight I must say be careful what you wish for, because when I decided to take a different way back to another station on the same line, what with the somewhat sketchy plan form the Copenhagen Card booklet I took the wrong turn, trudged through the (admittedly rather pretty) landscape along the edge of a park for at least an hour or so until I found myself stumbling through some posh suburb, hot and tired. Finally asked someone for the way to the station, which after another 15 min. or so I even managed to find. Only it turned out it wasn't the station (or indeed any of the stations) I'd been looking for by a long way. In fact I'd been walking in the wrong direction entirely for the whole time.

So by the time I got back to Copenhagen it was much too late to take the train to the other museum, got back to the hotel, showered, went out for a walk. Er. Yes. Walk.

Still feeling very irritable because of the enforced change of plans; called my sister, who casually asked what I was doing the evenings. Now I hate going out alone, don't even do it at home. Ended up feeling alone and pathetic to boot, irritated with the sun and the people enjoying it. Hot, blue skies, all quite unbearably cheerful. Didn't find a city bike and ended up walking for another three hours, through the old town to Christanshavn, mood finally improving somewhat, sitting on the harbour, doing the touristy thing taking snapshots ...

Dropped in on the parents (on their way to Sweden with their tourist party) in their very posh hotel to give them the camera, promising myself to really get a digital camera one of these days. Annoyance ensues. Oh, not really, we actually had a nice chat, but they're just so complicated. :: sigh ::

I seriously planned on taking the bus to my hotel, but when I didn't find one immediately I was to lazy to look and ended up walking all the way back, another 3/4 hr. My legs were cramping and aching by the time I finally got to bed.

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[ edited & typed: 07-18 ]


Kronborg Slot: Left Copenhagen in a downpour, which had (only temporarily, as it turned out) petered out to a misty drizzle by the time I arrived in Helsingør. Kronborg castle looked suitably gloomy & Hamletesque in this weather. Walked around the fortifications, and for a while it even looked like it might clear up entirely, but this turned out to be wishful thinking, by the time the castle opened the rain had intensified again...

I'm not sure what I expected, but Kronborg was something of a disappointment to me; as bare as Rosenborg Slot was stuffed, whitewashed rooms, the paint slightly mouldy and peeling in places from the damp, with only the odd painting, tapestry and piece of furniture. Several points for gloom, but it's rather hard to actually imagine people living there. People other than the cast of 'Hamlet', that is, because as a scenery it'd be quite perfect... The view on the sea and Swedish coast is nice, though again in a slightly depressing way, at least in this weather.

A beautiful Flemish late 16th century tapestry with a rhino in a jungle setting complete with griffin, as if the artist weren't wholly convinced a rhino was any more real...


(On a sidenote, apparently in the first version of the history of Hamlet ('Amleth'), as written down by a medieval Danish historian, Hamlet is a great success at the English court, marries the king's daughter, later returns to Denmark, revenges his father by killing not only his uncle, but burning down the castle over the heads of the court, is acclaimed king and lives happily ever after, or as near as was possible then. I find this psychologically intriguing how such a rather straight forward success story was by steps turned into a tragedy full of existential questions...)


Visited the Casemates, which were chilly, damp, dark and slightly creepy due to fact they saw fit to give them an air of realism by putting up life-sized mannequins of soldiers in there. The rain outside felt positively tropical after...

The castle church was more cheerful, richly carved painted and gilded woodwork.

Skipped the maritime museum and sat in the entrance hall, waiting for the rain to lessen enough for me to walk back to the station without getting thoroughly soaked. Why, with the weather they're having they don't sell umbrellas in the souvenir shop, escapes me... or raincoats. I wouldn't have been picky. Looked out in the rain, munched M&Ms, jotted down these very important details in my diary, and was fleetingly tempted to just steal one of the umbrellas lying around there. Told my evil self to shut up and kept wondering why when I'm normally so pessimistic about everything, I insist on being so unrelentingly optimistic about the weather. No, it will not rain. It will clear up. Well, soon, anyway.

Eventually at least the rain slowed down enough for me to venture out again, looked into the Sct. Marie Kirke on my way back; very pretty, pillars and walls of brick, vaults painted white and covered with frescoes, the same detailed woodwork as in the castle church; pleasantly light, pastel overall effect.

Back to the station, the rain increasing again, bought the cheapest umbrella I could get, which is small and probably not of much use if it's really pouring or the rain comes from one side, but I refuse to spend three times as much on something I've got at home anyway, but was just stupid enough to forget packing.

Waited for my train, looking out into the downpour and watching Swedes embarking & disembarking the ferries mostly apparently to buy their alcohol here, judging from empty beer crates they carried and number of shops I noticed on my way...



Took the train to Fredensborg Slot, and surprisingly enough the weather actually did clear up, with only the odd 1-minute shower and even an occasional glimpse of the sun, so that at one point I found myself dressed in a spaghetti strap top, juggling sweater, sunglasses and an umbrella...

Day improved vastly in every sense...

The palace is a pretty baroque from the outside; the interior partly restored, partly modern furnished as it still serves as a residence for the Danish royal family for most of the year; the guide offered more gossip than art history. Fun fact: they're using the window panes as guest book for guests of state, found the signature of our ex-ex-president, who'd managed to get the month wrong, crossed it out and corrected Sept. to Oct. much to the amusement of the rest of our visiting group.

Got to visit the royal kitchen gardens & Orangery, which is modern, as the original one hasn't been preserved, but a very clear, restrained, stylish rendering of the traditional architecture.

Very beautiful park sloping down to a lake, a small formal baroque garden in front of the palace, but for the most part the original severe design had since been changed to an English park, more organised around the palace, a wilderness on the edges.

Walked down to the lake & was writing this sitting on a bench on a sort of pier terminating in a round platform, sound of the waves lapping on the shore, grey clouds still hanging low, the woods on the other side of the lake a hazy greyish green that suggested rain. Flocks of crows veering across the sky, screeches of a gull. Wind stirring the trees and the dark and silvery water, occasional drop of rain. Grey bleached wood of the pier and benches, a crow hopping across it. Quite alone, and hoping I hadn't misread the opening hours.

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[ edited & typed: 07-20 ]


Second visit to the Statens Museum for Kunst, took a lot of photos of the modern building...

I think I really might like Flemish renaissance painting, even baroque, at least the earlier phases.... maybe it's just the full blown baroque of Rubens that puts me off? :: shrugs :: I really need to get a wider knowledge of art history... too many blanks by far. Some lovely 16th/17th century still-lives and trompe l'œil paintings.

Portraits by Jens Juel (Danish, late 18th century)

Anders Bundgaard, Hidden Treasure. Sitting Nude Girl

Valdemar Schønheyder Møller, Sunset, Fontainbleau: looking straight into the evening sun filtered through the leaves.

Vilhelm Hammershøi. Interestingly lit landscape paintings.

Late 19th century realism & Skagen Painters. Erik Henningsen, Hans Nikolaj Hansen, Albert Edelfelt, Laurits Tuxen, Otto Haslund, Valdemar Irminger, Wenzel Tornøe, Julius Paulsen, Frants Henningsen, P.S.Krøyer, Michael Ancher, Richard Bergh, Christian Krohg

Theodor Philipsen, whose cattle paintings are somewhat boring if they're close ups, but interesting if they're a little more abstract and dynamic.

Noted for nostalgically guilty study reasons, Harald Jerichau, The Lydian Plain near Sardis

William Bendz (A Sculptor in his Studio Working from the Life; A Young Artist (Ditlev Blunck) Examening a Sketch in a Mirror; The Life Class at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts), Ditlev Blunck (A Battle-Painter in his Studio; Portrait of the Copperplate Engraver Carl Edvard Sonne), earlier 19th century, who apparently belonged to a circle of artists/friends and painted each other's portraits. Some of their other work I didn't like so much, but those portraits are rather brilliant, fun details that make you smile - giggle.



Hirschsprung Collection: More Danish painting...

Ejnar Nielsen, The Blind Girl. very beautiful, I even bought the poster. My sister, when she came over for breakfast last Sunday, insisted she'd get depressed having that around all the time, but I love the contrast between the golden sunset landscape she turns away from as she cannot see it, the glittering river winding behind her, and the tenderness with which she touches the seeds of the dandelion she holds, her way to connect to the beauty surrounding her. Amazing.

Slightly reminds me of Klimt, only much less floridly ornamental, some of his other paintings recall Schiele, but with a clearer style.

I even bought a book(let) on his painting in Danish, as there wasn't one in any language I actually can read, but his pictures really fascinate me.


P. Krøyer, Summer's Day at the South Beach at Skagen. Now here my sister say she doesn't see the sadness, but to me this is just short of heartbreaking, the little girl standing on the beach well away from the water, fully dressed, watching the boys bathing. So self possessed (well trained) already she doesn't even try go nearer, much less join them.

Michael Ancher, a very curious portrait of his wife, standing just inside the open door looking out, the dog facing her almost as if to keep her in.

Vilhelm Hammershøi, whose portraits are a bit too minimalist and bleak for my taste, but interesting landscape paintings.



Rosenborg Slot: smallish, very fairy tale like looking from the outside, rather sombre inside, especially the renaissance parts, the rooms aren't quite large enough to carry off the heavily carved ceilings. A bit stuffy, the rooms dark and crowded.

A kitsch (and somewhat provincial) Chinese cabinet for one of the princesses, a kitsch, but cute, glass cabinet with green and gold the dominant colours, lemons made of glass. Nice-ish.

Smallish mirror cabinet, interesting as both the floor and ceiling are covered in mirrors, too.

Something I already noticed earlier in Frederiksborg Slot, they have a kind of very beautiful inlay furniture, different coloured woods with some light green stone for floral ornaments, occasionally mother of pearl for flowers. Very pretty. Seen it on a floor, too, here.



Took one of those city bike thingies the system of which actually seems to function here slightly better than at home, biked around for a bit, but got cut short by the rain.


Noted how insecure i get when i don't speak the language.

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Frederiksborg Slot: situated very picturesquely, a renaissance palace built into a lake, brick architecture and copper roofs turned green, which seems to be typical for the local architecture of that time, quite playful, but not overly so.

A beautiful chapel - church, rather, it's quite large- with intricately carved and colourfully painted and gilded wood ornaments, too playful to be oppressive; my favourite part, a free standing baroque audience chamber, white stuccoed walls, light and airy with windows on all four sides, connected to the rest of the castle by a private passageway leading over a channel in the same style.

The palace itself has served as a museum and storage for furniture & such from other palaces for quite some time, more pictures of Danish royalty and relations than I ever cared to look at; noticable - a table with a whimsically beautiful stone inlay tabletop decorated in the manner of the hellenistic 'unswept floor' mosaics, but the artist chose to add not only birds, but every kind of insect, including beetles and worms.

A formal baroque garden across the lake vis-à-vis the castle, which unfortunately was being restored at the moment and mostly closed, the rest of the park more like an English garden, very lush. This might be getting repetitive, but the sheer abundance of green here is a pleasant change from the already rather parched lawns at home. There are just so many flowers everywhere, roses in every park, scent heavy on the air, flowers in front of the private houses.


Hot, sultry day, heavy clouds in the distance, thunder rolling as I was walking along the lake back to the station...


Nationalmuseet: Very large, rushed through it in the 2.5 hrs left until closing time, with slightly more attention on Denmark's bronze age, an exhibition on the influence of the Roman Empire on Danish history and the classical antiquities department I hadn't even known about. (:: cough ::) Found a Cypriote terracotta group that might or might not show (a) Persian(s). (The harness of the horses isn't typically Persian, rather Cypriote, but at least one of the male figures rather looks like the Persian dignitaries known from Achaemenid and graeko-persian art) Other than that nothing much spectacular, a little bit of everything, but some very nice vases.

More or less ran through an extensive and presumably very interesting ethnographic collection and a thousand years of Danish history. Probably should come again, but I doubt I'll have the time. I'm already resigning myself I'll probably remain woefully ignorant of the details of Danish history...

Hot day, the air in the museum was stifling, ended up at the hotel feeling grumpy, hungry, feet aching, and generally irritable, the beautiful first half of the day already very distant.


Dragged my tired ass out again & went to the Tivoli (because apparently you got to see this), which is kind of kitsch, kind of cute and probably a lot more fun if you're not there on your own. Didn't take any rides, either, it just seemed a little pointless, alone... Getting caught in a downpour didn't really help either.

Went to Louis Tussaud's Wax Museum, mostly because it was near and the entrance was free with this Museum pass I hadn't really used enough anyway, and got scared shitless. What with the late hour, the rain and extremely high entrance fee I was practically alone, and wax figures suddenly take on a life of their own when they're in the majority, so to speak. Suddenly you no longer feel like a visitor, but an intruder, not watching, but being watched, and your subconscious mind decides to remember every horror movie you've seen or heard about, every Lovecraft story you've read... i was laughing at myself almost the moment I walked out, but the fairy tale section? Decidedly creepy at that moment, the dwarves singing their cheerful littlle song. And don't even mention the horror section. I was very glad when I finally caught up with a group of people, but as there was no one else it was pretty impossible to stick around them without seeming too obvious, so I passed through very fast...

(Objectively speaking, though I don't even think the figures were very good, some of the movie celebrities barely recognisable...)

solitary_summer: (Default)

[ edited & typed: 07-11 ]


Overcast, drizzling. And in a bout of - considering the warnings my travel guide gave - certainly misplaced optimism I hadn't packed an umbrella.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek: The museum itself is very beautiful with a glass roofed central garden courtyard with tall palm trees, a fountain and benches; the exposition halls of the old part have mosaic floors, the ornaments of which were chosen in accordance with the style and age of the objects displayed, walls painted in matching colours and stuccoed ceilings. A small, but beautifully designed modern annex, that fits perfectly with the old building, mostly for French art.

The ancient Greek collection is not especially large, but it's nice to finally see some famous pieces I'd been reading about for ages; a hall of portraits, both Greek originals and roman copies; a couple of rather interesting near eastern pieces. A large, but incredibly badly lit (especially on a rainy day like this) etruscan collection in the basement.

19th century Danish sculpture, much classicist white marble, which imo is a material it's almost impossible to be profound in - it tends to give any sculpture an air of pretty superficiality and blandness, especially when combined with the smooth, classicist style. Now I rather dislike classicism in the first place, as it's based on a wrong and idealised image of ancient Greek art; and while from the art historian's point of view I can understand why this appealed to people at one point and what they were trying to express through it, to me personally it always has a flavour of superficiality, maybe insincerity, a kind of repetitiveness and lack of originality that merely bore me.

Elna Borch, Death and the Maiden
Stephan Sinding, The Oldest of the Line; Creation Fantasy

Some of the late 19th /early 20th century Danish artists seem rather interesting...

Harald Giersing, Lady in Yellow Coat, Seated
Kai Nielsen, Two Sisters
Theodor Philipsen

Bought a book on Mesopotamia and Iran in the Persian period. So much for giving up... :: sigh ::



Statens Museum for Kunst: Again, the building. Now i know about modern architecture about as much as about modern art, possibly less, but it's impossible not to be impressed by this, though not impressed in the sense of overwhelmed, rather it's a building one feels at once at ease in. Very beautiful in a quiet, unostentatious way.

The modern extension wing stretches along the whole length of the old museum, connected to it by a glass roof and footbridges that allow you to cross back and forth between the upper floors of the old and new wings. Its front opens on a garden and exploits this view to the best advantage. Light and airy, without making one feel exposed. Complex, but with enough structure and visible axes never to be confusing or labyrinthine. There are two levels of smaller sized, rectangular expositions halls for the more 'conventional' paintings and sculptures at the back and one series of more irregular rooms spanning both levels at the front for the modern installations and such. Both are connected by openings in the walls, staircases and balconies that offer views from different perspectives; windows or floor to ceiling glass walls that make the view of the park a background or even a part of the works of art displayed.

The rooms fit the works of art so perfectly that one suspects they were designed especially for them - if not, the arrangement is a work of art in itself.

The older part I didn't really have much time for & probably will visit again...

Marinus von Reymerswaele, The Merchant and his Wife
Abraham Bloemaert, The Death of Niobe's Children
Cornelis van Haarlem, Fall of the Titans

A hall with paintings and sculptures most of which have death as a subject in one way or the other, late 19th, early 20th century Danish artists. Very intersting.

Ejnar Nielsen, The Sick Girl; Blind Girl Reading; Hell (which at the first glance one would be almost certain was painted with the images from the death camps in mind, but actually is much earlier)
Harald Slott-Møller, The Poor: The Waiting Room of Death
Joakim Skovgaard, Christ in the Kingdom of Death (Can't quite make up my mind if that one is oversized religious kitsch or actually quite good.)
Niels Hansen Jacobsen, The Shadow

Some of the later 19th century realism reminds me of the Russian 'Wanderers' movement in its realism and social critique, though I've really no idea if there's any connection...


Walked back through the botanical gardens, not very large, but beautiful, very lush, copies of ancient Greek statues that somehow look rather tasteful and in place, a pretty mid 19th century greenhouse I never got to visit due to its opening hours.


:: :: :: ::


Overall impression so far...

What I'm really impressed with is how they manage to combine old and modern architecture in a way that never seems to be possible at home, because someone will invariably scream sacrilege and how the old building needs to be preserved just as it is and will get enough conservative support to basically ruin every project. Also, the results are rarely as pleasant as I've seen here so far... There are beautiful modern buildings, but nothing flashy or on the overwhelming scale I've seen in Berlin last year. Here architecture seems to be use-oriented, humanly sized rather than stunning.

The good: not very touristy... even on a rainy day in the main tourist season at no point i felt crowded in either of the museums.

The bad: er, not very touristy. Opening hours from 10 am to 5 pm at best, often not even that....try organising a visiting schedule on that if you've only got a week. If you're looking for books on Danish artists there isn't much in English or any other language I can read.

solitary_summer: (Default)

[ edited & typed: 07-10 ]


Note to self, and maybe I'll remember this time, don't book a flight that requires you to get up before 6 am. You think you've gained a day, but all you do is wander around in a daze, unable to really appreciate anything.

I simply can't function on barely 4 hrs of sleep...

Feeling less than enthusiastic, though it's a beautiful city; cranky, tired and alone - never thought being surrounded by people speaking a language I don't understand at all could make me feel equally irritated and isolated. At least some of the TV seems to be in English with Danish subtitles only. Er.

Moreover the city's full of kids from Roskilde festival, making me feel at once very old and very inadequate, if this makes any sense at all.

Mostly just walked around to get an impression and orientate myself; from my hotel near the central station through the old town centre to the harbour, looked at Amalienborg palace, or what little of it can be visited (a rather boring little museum in one of the four palais), seeing as it's still used by the royal family; Frederik's Church, which in its current state is late 19th century and as such not very interesting; the Kastellet, walked along the Langelinie quay, watching the big cruise ships, managed not to miss the Little Mermaid on my way back; St Alban's Church (late 19th century too, but historistic, neo-gothic style, quite pretty); wandered into the garden of the old part of the Royal Library on my way back more by accident, lush, quietly romantic, restful.

On the whole though, feeling mostly tired, alone, a bit depressed, and not overly impressed; hoping that things will look better after a whole night of sleep.

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March 2013

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