09 September 2019

Light on modernist/mediaeval

I'm out to span the ages again. I try for the Romanische Germanische museum. Frankfurt has long history as a Roman town and displays it. Sadly not now. It's closed for renovation. I glance at a few items through glass and am stunned by a perfect, huge mosaic. But no access. Then to Museum Ludwig. It's the local modern art museum. Claiming 900 Picasso pieces! Someone was a cluey collector. The first rooms were dreary. Perhaps just me. Their concerns may be ideas not skills, but they seem trivial and emotionless. It got better away from minimalism and conceptual art. Picasso for one, but also Gross and Chagall and Mueller, Klee and Beckman and others lesser known. It was seriously interesting to get up close and see Picasso's late-period brushstrokes. Not much opportunity in Canberra. But it just confirmed a love of the middle ages. And it had me wondering of the incongruity of massed cameras and marked lines on the floor in front of lesser modernists but frequent bare mediaeval panels and baroque canvases at the Walraff. I like that trust, although the guards were obviously wary of me at first.

Then off to lunch, and a suggestion to visit the Kolomba museum for its architecture. It was good but closed. Not sure of the collection, but it's built on exposed Roman ruins and is the museum space of the local arch-diocese. Then off through a number of churches. They are common enough, always looking pretty new or even under repair given damage by WW2 bombing and the passage of time, well provisioned with organs (which are occasionally in use) and always offering a few mediaeval gems. Not sure they quite dream of the world as I do: one church had sun streaming in over baroque paintings and mediaeval triptyches. How could that be? It would never happen to our one German triptych in the NGA.

The Museum Ludwig is the major modern art gallery in Cologne.

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