Our next destination on our art adventure was a short flight away in London, England. First stop: The National Gallery.
Here hangs Van Gogh's sunflowers. Created to decorate his yellow house in Arles in preparation for his friend and house-guest, Paul Gauguin, Van Gogh's glowing, textured, fiery bouquet is among his greatest masterpieces. On the wall of the National Gallery, the painting radiates warmth and good feeling.
That afternoon at the museum, a group of English school girls sat in a cluster on the floor sketching Peter Paul Reuben's dramatic portrayal of Samson and Delilah. This tragic image of ill-fated romance was perhaps an irresistible choice to copy.
The Arnolfini portrait by Jan Van Eyck was intriguing with its odd inclusions of traces of the artist. Inscribed on the back wall behind the Arnolfinis he wrote "Jan Van Eyck was here" in Latin, a graffiti-ed autograph, just above a mirror reflecting two figures, one believed to be a self-portrait.
And there she was again, years older than we had seen her in Munich the day before: Madame de Pompadour! This time she was painted a year away from her death by the artist Francois-Houbert Drouais:
The National Gallery has many other great paintings as well, a tremendous collection!