Sunday, June 13, 2010

Museum of Western and Eastern Art

Even if you've never been within a thousand miles of Odessa, chances are you've heard of the Museum of Western and Eastern Art. It hit the headlines in 2008 when thieves bypassed the alarm system by removing a window pane instead of smashing it with a brick and made off with Carvaggio's Taking of Christ. I'd been meaning to visit ever since I got here, so it was entirely predictable it would be closed on the day I actually got round to doing it.

"The Western Art does not work today," said the sign at the cash desk. Instead I was ushered into a side room where there was a temporary exhibition made up of the kind of stuff Beryl Cook might have knocked up in an afternoon if she'd been persuaded to make repeated sketches of Sophie Ellis-Baxter in the style of a bored Picasso. There was Sophie with a cat, Sophie with a bowl of fruit and Sophie at a party...with a cat.

As I was the only visitor and the guard was feeling particularly chatty, I smiled, nodded and I don't knowed my way through an introduction to the paintings, remembering to look appreciatively in all the right places.

Immediately afterwards I escaped to the beach.

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