At 10 AM today, I got a doubt and checked, today is the day for Trooping the Colour. This is a military parade reviewed by the Queen of England on the day decided as her birthday. It is something like, at 10 AM, she does the review at Horse Guards Parade, comes to the palace in a carriage, does another review there. If you are standing near the palace, the process will be, army units come marching one by one, followed by the Queen. She will stand before the palace taking the salute with the units passing her by. A gun salute is fired in Green Park. During the review, the whole family sees the spectacle from the balcony of the palace(photo quality is very bad – I took it with my phone. The family members are specks in the background).
Then they go on for some time and come out in some time for the air force flypast.
In the ensuring gap, vehicles are brought in to clean the mess horses made and then, people are let in. There are a few discrepancies this time. The Queen took the salute from the balcony. People near the palace were not allowed into the main area and had to contend with restricted views. Those who were let, one should see the madness – they were running to the palace grills. Another main observation is, the rush is much sparser than expected.
This chapter done, next I went to the National Art Gallery at Trafalgar Square. It is the main art gallery of London. It is at the back of a huge public square with a column built in commemoration of the victory at Trafalgar. Nelson stands at the top of the column overlooking the Parliament afar. The column is flanked by four lions at four corners. The square is a famous public place in London with its attractions – some public event or the others(today, it was some missionary activity), two fountains, a few statues, public arts for alms and a police station termed as the world’s smallest. The gallery has got around 65 rooms of European paintings, ranging from 1200s to recent ones. It takes at least two days to cover the full museum. During my last visit, photography was not allowed, but this time, it is. I covered the medieval section today, with some real beauties from Rembrandt, Cannoletto, Rubens, Velazquez and others. Some of the most striking ones are
Titian – The Vendramin Family – ~1540-60
Paolo Veronese – The Family of Darius before Alexander – 1565-7. This is my favourite in the museum.
van Dyck – Cornelius van der Geest – ~1620
Landscapes by Rubens, van de Velde and others
Flower vases, mainly by Bosschaert the Elder and Jan van Huysum
City panoramas of Delft, Rhenen and other places
Guercino – The Cumaean Sybil with a Putto – 1651
For some reason, I didnt like Titian, may be because of nudity. But, a few things to note regarding western painting – half of them are somehow related to Christianity, they have learnt to draw faces only recently, they relish in nudity. One classic thing said regarding this is, they prefer to draw the Trial of Paris since they have got a chance to draw three nude women. And this includes painters of the stature of Rubens and Cranach. Greek and Roman Greek are a regular occurence.
Turning back, I took the bus via Wandsworth and Richmond having nice views of Thames and the Parliament.