Hanoi’s Fine Art Museum on 66 Nguyễn Thái Học is curiously curated. That makes finding great works of art a tad difficult. Best to take someone who knows their art history as the plaques will be of little help.
Uyên is the perfect museum date. She knows where the good stuff is at and can put it into context in that eloquent way of hers (the same applies for the not so good). She cares and that’s what’s important as it makes her see beyond the hideous frames, questionable lumping together of paintings and occasional fakes to revel in the details of Vietnam’s extraordinary art history.
Her favourite work is the silk painting ‘Going to the Field’ by Nguyễn Phan Chánh. If you get really really close to it you see the artist’s incredibly skilled brush stroke in the delicate bamboo forest in the background of the picture. All too easy to miss! The below images certainly do not do the work justice but you get an idea.
Best go check it out yourself though. First floor, room on the far left if you are facing with your back to the windows. The painting hangs on the wall separating this room from the adjacent one. Second row, first image.
There are three or four copies, so you might stumble across the piece somewhere else entirely.