standing in queue for Leonardo da Vinci...

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It is dark, it is cold, it is early in the morning. I leave my hotel around 4.45 and arrive at the National Gallery at 5.15. There are I guess about 15 to 20 people earlier than me. From the beginning there is a split in the group. Around ten people look like they have spent the night in front of the Gallery. They have chairs, blankets and have put a lot of newspapers on the ground to keep warm, but they look very cold in spite of the blankets they have covered themselves under. They act hostile to the newcomers including me, as if arriving at 5 o’clock is a too lazy effort to deserve a ticket. Relatively fresh the second group – in the beginning – just stand, leaning against the wall and try to find a place to get a cup of coffee and to stay warm.
Two men are standing next to me. I say hi to them but they are not so much into talking. Basically they seem to be very tired and very cold. They are nice though. Because we are packed so tight in the row, I keep bumping into them, trying to find the most comfortable way to lean against the wall for the five-hour wait. Sorry, I keep saying, but they can laugh about it. Those are my quiet neighbours on the right.

On the left a man in a black overcoat, a red scarf and a grey baseball has arrived, an elderly man, white long hair is showing underneath his baseball hat - but that I can only see a few hours later when the sun sets. It is Bengt Holmén, a 82-year-old numismatist - the study of history through coins - who is still an active member of the Historical Society of Gothenburg. He lectures about Leonardo da Vinci and he asks me if I’m interested in his lecture. Without waiting for my answer professor Holmén starts his talk.

Here I am on a cold dark morning, standing outside a gallery waiting to get admission to one of the greatest artist ever lived. But why? Why are we standing here, I ask the professor, why are people willing going 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…

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

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