A recent visit to the National Gallery prompted a recollection of the basics of art appreciation.
Years ago I was in the NG shop, browisng the postcards - as one does. (You see all the pictures in the collection without the bother of traipsing around the vast building.)
To my right is a mother with her young son - about five years old.
He's staring intently at a couple of cards and is clearly in an agony of indecision.
Meanwhile his mother is losing patience: 'Come on, make up your mind. You can have one card. Now decide - the steam train, or the beheading....'
I haven't noticed the tall man browsing quietly to my left. He, like me, appreciates the little boy's dilemma.
He's less restrained than me. I hear him murmur (deep New England tones): 'Tough choice, kid...."
The works of art under consideration are shown above.