The perks of being a gallery ghost

Art at the National Gallery

Following on from yesterday, let me tell you one of the perks of being a gallery ghost. Because I go to the gallery with no expectations and admittedly only a casual knowledge, there is no stress about the visit. I can guarantee that I will see some art, and if I’m lucky I may even like some of it.

So it is always a present surprise when your aimless wanderings take you to a painting that it turns out you love. I had walked past ‘Perseus turning Phineas and his Followers to Stone’ by Luca Giordano a million times. I always thought it was a bit terrible to be honest, because the soldiers on the left didn’t have quite the right poses or expressions.

I thought that the decapitated head was being held up in celebration, and the soldiers on the left were raising their spears in triumph. But since I decided to rest my feet for a moment in front of the painting I had time to actually consider it.

The decapitated head is actually Medusa, and those ‘celebrating’ soldiers are actually the enemy and are being turned to stone be her snakey gaze. And all that it took was a moment of contemplation to change my perception and move the painting onto my yes list.

Tune to accompany the painting: Holes by Passenger