Hello all! This weekend we took a day trip to Tokyo to see an exhibit of 16th century masters, starring Pieter Bruegel’s “The Tower of Babel,” along with some work by the bizarrely wondrous Hieronymus Bosch.
First, we hit up our usual lunch spot when we go to Tokyo: Bubby’s!
We went to Ginza to check out the Apple Store:
Then it was off to Ueno Park to the museum! It was a pretty good day to go – hot in the sun, but with a nice breeze that made the heat bearable when in the shade.
To the museum!
While the artwork in the show was amazing, I had some difficulty with the huge crowd. My experience with traveling around Tokyo is that it is ridiculously busy on weekends – I wish I had enough paid leave to go to see these kinds of exhibitions during the work week.
There were three floors of the exhibition…halfway through the second floor, I looked at my watch. It took us one hour to get there! Instead of moving in two steadily-moving lines as instructed along the routes mapped out in the gallery pamphlet, people were just jumping ahead and cutting in, and since a lot of the prints were so small and detailed, the line-jumpers would stand there for a while, poking at the glass over the works (even though there was a barrier on the ground, they’d lean over it to look and point). The attendants seemed to have given up trying to get people moving. I was pretty annoyed, to say the least.
Twenty minute wait to get in:
Katsuhiro Otomo, the artist behind Akira, drew an imagining of the inside of the Tower of Babel:
They blew up the painting so that we could really see the details:
There were no photographs allowed inside (thank goodness, we would have moved even more slowly than we already were). But here are a few of my favourites that were there:
Pieter Bruegel I, Armed Three-Master on the Open Sea Accompanied by a Galley (engraved and etched by Frans Huys).
Pieter Bruegel I, Big Fish Eat Little Fish (engraved by Pieter van der Heyden). Love the two-legged fish walking off with another fish in his mouth in the top left corner!
Manner of Jheronimus Bosch, etched and engraved by Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, The Besieged Elephant.
And really, anything that Bosch or his apprentices in his workshop made was just fascinating to see. We got a book afterwards, to better examine everything!
(Actually…we got a lot of stuff from the museum gift shop. There’s just something about Bosch and Bruegel that render T-shirts and tote bags and magnets and pins and clear folders awesome, rather than the usual tacky gift shop souvenirs plastered with Van Gogh’s Starry Night (no offence meant to Van Gogh!)
…Though there was a ridiculous Tower of Babel chiffon cake you could order… it looked like a kid’s volcano science project, and it was sold out, believe it or not!)
As before, it was jam-packed with people; the line to check out was ten minutes long!
Our haul (some are gifts):
We also foolishly stopped by the museum’s regular gift shop and spotted the best gatchapon machine ever:
Looooove me some Mucha!
We finally got out after about two and a half hours, and we just had to take a picture in the shiny reflective blob:
Afterwards, we wandered the park a bit more:
Thank you Paul, for being such a patient traveling companion! (And so cute!):
Saw the tail end of the hydrangeas:
Watched a dude paint pandas on the pavement with water and another dude entertain children:
Wandered along the lake:
We shopped around a bit more:
Buy ya samurai shoes here!
After this we were utterly pooped, and staggered over to Ueno’s TGIFridays to just sit, stuff our faces with American food, and cool down. Then it was an hour and a half train ride back, and we were home!
All in all, a day well spent! My main advice to anyone thinking of visiting these kinds of exhibitions in Tokyo: if you dislike big crowds (and if you’re small like me and people think they can push you around), maybe try to go on a weekday?
Until next time! またね！