During these pandemic times we are adapting in many different ways. Virtual regattas have become the norm, whether the plethora available for indoor rowing or on-water ones, such as the NK summer series where you row your single with data collected by your Stroke Coach, upload it and see how your compare. Virtual travel dominated social media and blog sites for a while. We had fun with our When You Can’t Travel & Row Series. We showcased British Columbia in Canada, Tasmania in Australia, Lot in France and St. Petersburg in Russia, highlighting the many ways to explore these destinations from the comfort of your couch.
I confess that I did not embrace digital tours of museums and palaces and other tourism wonders. Was I being a snob, thinking that you could only truly appreciate something if you were there in person? Ridiculous of course. After all I do love a good movie shot in an exotic location. So an article in my newspaper from the art critic about how she had come to love online art galleries caught my eye. One of the sites that she raved about was Virtual NGC (National Gallery of Canada). It is wonderful. What I especially enjoyed were the vignettes about a single painting or sculpture. Standing in front of them would be amazing but watching the videos of a curator explaining the artwork gave me greater insights.
Christopher Davidson, Curatorial Assistant of Canadian Art presented Lucius R. O’Brien’s Sunrise on the Saguenay, Cape Trinity. It is considered one of the treasures of the collection from the 1800’s and expresses “smallness of man in the vastness of nature”. Another video illustrated the restoration of the painting three years ago, which completely enhanced the beauty of the painting. There, emerging from (not the mists) the old varnish was a double. When shown in detail it was a bit simplistic in its depiction although the timing of the oars and the body angle of the rowers looked perfect. (Watch the videos or enlarge the painting image to find them in the bottom left.)
I did not expect to see rowing in a painting from the Virtual NGC. The surprise of the discovery was delightful. At the time we still were not rowing. Sure, not as good as being on the water. But this virtual experience was worthwhile. Especially since there will be more times when we can’t travel and can’t row. And I do have a travel dream of a rowing tour on the Saguenay one day.