Monday, March 31, 2003

Museums are a sop to the middle class, who aspire to having objects of great value and sophistication, but basically are dependent on the rich to donate what they don't want, or what society forces them to give up. Me, I'm as bourgeois as can be, I love museums. So, it was with anticipation that I went with the husband to look at Spanish paintings at the National Museet in Stockholm.

I was a bit disappointed at these particular riches on display - they were a bit meager, a bit repetitive. Still, there were the brutal Goya war etchings, aptly timed. But even more touching were side-by-side Velasquez portraits of an infanta and a dwarf. The princess, no more than four years old, was painted with great care and attention to the detail of the cage of a dress she was wearing, and to the velvet curtain behind her, and to the vague sorrow in her young eyes. The dwarf, however, was rather roughly painted in, his clothes dirty and his nose needing to be wiped, a forgotten plaything half-smiling back at the Spanish court painter. One would be hard pressed to choose which child was more pitiable.

The Swedish phrase for the day is parkering förbjuden. It means parking forbidden.

- by Francis S.

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