At the museum

Tracy. What's eating you, Jack?
Jack. Ah! Never mind. Just a slight headache.
Rona. He is never well when museums are on the schedule.
J. The attic of the nation are all those museums, aren't they?
T. Take it easy Jack, relax.
J. If I could I would. It's annoying when you can't have fun from something, isn't it?
R. Fun? Museums are .educational establishments for advancing and diffusing knowledge. You are not expected to have fun with it like dog shows or flower exhibitions.
J. What a bore!
Henry. A picture gallery is At the museum no less enjoyable than a dog show. Stick to me, Jack, and you'll find it terrific, I promise you.
J. Do you? We shall see. (In the museum each visitor is offered a cassette player and earphones to listen to a recorded guide's commentary.)
Voice on the audio tape. We are in the hall of colonial portraits of the National Portrait Gallery. The Permanent Collection of the Museum represents portraits of heroes and villains, thinkers and doers, conservatives and radicals. Most of them are taken from life-sittings. You will see George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, the artist Mary At the museum Cassatt...
J. Heavens, what sparkling eyes that lady on the colonial portrait has! And what a graceful pose!
Maggy. Isn't it lovely! Her face is gentle, she looks as if she was alive.
J. And the texture of her dress! It looks so soft and silky as if you could feel it with your hand.
H. You like realist portraits, don't you?
J. What I really like about the 19th century ladies are their fashions and hairdos. They were gorgeous, weren't they?
Audio-loop voice. You are standing before the portrait of Mrs Alexander Hamilton, painted in At the museum 1787 by Ralph Earl. Ralf Earl began his career as an artist on the eve of the American Revolution to become a painter of exceptional breadth and power. Earl captured on canvas the many faces of the young republic...
(In the National Museum of American Art.)
J. Seriously, I like pictures that are true to life, where every leaf and flower is depicted exactly.
Steve. Like in still life? Look, here is one by Raphaelle Peale. Flowers in a vase, watermelons, grapes and cherries. Doesn't it look nice?
J. Not at all! The peel of the grapes and cherries At the museum is so transparent that their juice seems ready to burst out. Wow, it makes me feel really hungry. Do we call this art realist, Henry?
H. Well, realist artists' ideal was a truthful account of what lay before their eyes and precise drawing of a landscape, a portrait or a record of those events around them.
Olivia. There is nothing like landscapes to me. I like nature depicted as mysterious and majestic.
H. You seem to like romanticism, don't you?
O. How can you tell a realist landscape from a romantic one?
J. I can tell At the museum you easily, Olivia. Wherever you see a romance on a picnic - it's romantic style.

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