standing in queue for Leonardo da Vinci...

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Here I am on a cold dark morning, standing outside a gallery waiting to get admission to one of the greatest artists ever lived. But why? Why are we standing here, I ask the professor, why are people willing to go through this ordeal just to see a few pictures? It is fame, the professor says. They want to see Leonardo because he is famous; if you are famous people are interested in you.

My neighbour next in line in the queue waiting to get admission to Leonardo da Vinci, painter at the Court of Milan, turns out to be a professor from Gothenburg. It is Bengt Holmén, the 82-year-old numismatist, a retired professor, who studies history through coins and is who is still an active member of the Historical Society of Gothenburg.

A numismatist, he is a numismatist that I learn from a Londoner also waiting in line. He looks like a professor don’t you think, he remarks about my five hour conversation partner, the professor Holmén. Did you just arrive, I ask the Londoner. No, no, he says, I was here at 5 too, but I thought we would get a number and come back later. This is so badly organised, he grumbles. At ten the doors will open. Do not count on it, he says, this is Britain. May be the guards are drinking coffee somewhere in the building saying; just leave them wait. He looks as if he is extremely cold and he says he is. His face is all red and his nose more so. I did not dress for a five hours wait he explains. I thought I could get my number and come back at ten. He is waiting for his friend who promised to bring coffee and the benumbed man cannot think of anything else than coffee. It is a quarter to ten. You have still time to get a coffee, I say, but the man does not dare to take the risk. You will be inside when I come back and then they will tell me there are no tickets left and you will not be there to vouch for me standing in line all that time. Yes, I tease him; if they ask me I will say I have never seen this man before.

What are you two laughing about, the professor asks. Lisa from Italy arrives. She wants to enter the Gallery as my companion. She joined the queue at a quarter past eight. I know I was way too late, she apologizes. She was standing at the back of the line and the wardens tell her she has no chance of obtaining a ticket, but now she is coming in with us. Lisa has bought coffee and banana cake. I give my cup of coffee to the man who did not dress for the cold. He is so thankful, he calls us his rescuing angels. We form a little team, the professor, the cold Londoner his friend who finally arrived without the promised coffee - Lisa and I. Partners in crime...

                           the professor...

Rosebud is the online research diary of Anna No Picture: master Arts and Sciences, Artistic Research 2012

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