Upcoming Museum Visits: February

Tomorrow is the first day of the Spring Semester here at Tufts University. Rather than think of the responsibilities that will quickly take over my life I daydream of the museums that I will soon be wandering through.

Crivelli's Dead Christ at the PMA
New York:
The Museum of Biblical Art, Manhattan
Passion in Venice: Crivelli to Tintoretto and Veronese
This new exhibition opens while I'm there and it happens to feature one of my favorite artists, Carlo Crivelli.

This painting usually hangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Dead Christ Supported by Two Angels, 1470) and it was the subject of an in-museum presentation/final project that almost killed me. Oh, my first taste of medieval art/sweet torture with Master Bolman of Temple U!

Each student was to have selected a work in the museum and have prepared an on site formal analysis. This is not a research project, but an in depth, meaningful examination of the work of art. It is not easy and should be taken very seriously.

The presentations were not ordered, it was a matter of object placement in the museum. The entire time I never knew when I would be called to the stage. Since my work was tucked into some far off corner, I ended up being the last presenter. That meant nearly four hours with NO FOOD. I am sorry museum staff, but I ate a protein bar in the galleries (actually I had to share it with my co-presenter). It was either that or die. Post protein bar we flung our passionate selves into that presentation and jolted everyone out of museum fatigue. The decision to eat at that critical moment probably secured my future as an art historian. An early memory that I absolutely love.

And how can you not be drawn in by this psychotic painting. Zoom in and take a closer look at the left hand of Jesus...the faces of the putti...it's all so unsettling and quietly horrifying. Ah! I adore Crivelli.

Moving over to these palm trees.

The Dali Museum

The Dali Museum, St. Augustine
I never really liked Dali or Surrealist painting, with some exceptions. I do like the concept of magic realism, "Surrealist" films and Catalonia, so maybe I will be converted. The museum recently re-opened after a two year renovation. Fun? Probably. Especially with my wacky sister along for the adventure.

The Ringling Museum

The Ringling Museum, Sarasota
In a crazy neo-Venetian building, Renaissance paintings and circus artifacts mingle. Ocean side. I'm there. Also, the major benefactor of my own university happens to be P.T. Barnum, the founder of P. T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome which was later purchased by the Ringling Brothers. Our mascot is Jumbo, the circus elephant (originally his stuffed hide stood on the campus, now Jumbo is carved in stone). So this is sort of a pilgrimage I suppose.

Medieval (Carolingian?) reliquary

Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe
Excited for this: Reliquaries of all kinds everywhere! A reliquary is a container, which became more and more ornate as the cult of the saints evolved, that is used to hold the precious relics of a saint. A relic is either a piece of the body or something closely connected to the saint, such as blood or cloth from their garment. 

Look here to see the objects in thrilling 3D.

Spring Break 2011! Art bacchanalia! 


Fumée d’Ambre Gris

Fumée d’Ambre Gris – Smoke of Ambergris by John Singer Sargent, 1880.
 Clark Institute in Williamstown, MA.

Enchanting study in whites.
I saw this while adventuring around the museums of western Massachusetts and I could not look away.

Also in western Mass. and very good:
the Williams College Museum of Art.

At the Worcester Art Museum I saw the Antioch mosaics that we studied in my Medieval Art in the Mediterranean class.

This is Ctesiphon, a personification of home. Late Roman.
Bonus: very close to the museum is a Swedish bakery, Crown Bakery and Cafe. During Lent they have semlor, my absolute favorite!