getting lucky at the Pushkin Museum

I want to write about something that happened on Christmas eve, the day before I left home for my two week winter break.  I decided to go to the Pushkin Museum, Moscow’s main art museum.  (There’s another museum, only slightly smaller, called the Tretyakov Gallery, which is strictly for Russian art.  This mirrors the situation in Petersburg, where there’s the Russian Museum and then there’s the Hermitage for everything else.  All the good stuff, that is… Russian painting is lovely enough but it just doesn’t stack up to the French, the Italians, the Spanish, the Dutch… Russians can more than console themselves with their music and literature, of course.)  Anyway, this was actually my first time in the main branch of the museum.  There was an exhibit of drawings done in Paris in the early twentieth century, which is definitely up my alley as far at art goes.  But that morning, musicians were setting up for a rehearsal for that night’s chamber music performance in a concert hall, among the Picasso and Braque drawings.  I went to see what was going on, and they started playing the Brahms piano quintet.  This is one of my favorite pieces of music… I actually tried to learn it once and I still hold out the hope of playing it one day.  I stayed and listened to them play.  It was a very serendipitous moment because it gave me an opportunity to put great art and great music in competition for my attention.  Now I love art, looking at it and making it, I actually gave serious thought (imagine it!) to becoming a painter or illustrator as late as this year, under the influence of Basic Painting.  However, the music won out, no contest, and I forgot I was there to look at pictures at all.

It’s been a year of getting lucky so far: the apartment at Oktyabrskoe Polye,  Moscow being more beautiful and less cold than predicted, a few exceptional friends…


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