a wednesday in early august – with out a doubt the single most beautiful day of summer! cool enough to enjoy our city…the isabella stewart gardner museum, lunch at the public market and a trip through one of our national parks – a great line up!
if you have never visited the isabella stewart gardner museum….go! go NOW! i admit i am not a big lover of the ‘old masters’ (particularly those dark foreboding flemish painters) – and i am completely ‘fine arts illiterate’, have no desire to stare + admire a piece for hours or to contemplate meaning + symbols etc. ….but i just love this museum. (to be sure, maureen is a fine arts minor and has a much ‘finer eye’!)
check this out…the doors haven’t opened and we have this fabulous extension to admire – design, architecture, technology – beauty!
in we go…the centerpiece, literally, of the original museum (which was also isabella’s home in boston) is the courtyard – changed 9 times a year – currently a cool, inviting melange of greens + whites, textures + hues, shadows + light
leave time to sit, admire, cool down
a few of the masterpieces i really did enjoy
EL JALEO, john singer sargent – in the spanish cloister…i had no idea this would be a sargent, thinking he did so many portraits of prominent bostonians and the like that he would not have time for travel (so uninformed)…here’s what i learned about this piece -“a lean toward the daring, risky, unconventional, dramatic, erotically off center and odd” (hmmm…is that why i liked it?) – john singer sargent was apparently a big fan of gypsy music, dance + picturesque costumes
THE VIRGIN AND CHILD EPIPHANY WITH SAINTS, giuliano rimini – usually this piece would not be a ‘show stopper’ for me – but the scale (and possibly the age) of the baby jesus did catch my eye. i did investigate and didn’t see anything mentioned about this aspect of the painting…but i did learn this altar piece was made ‘for a religious order of nuns and the painter specifically tailored his imagery for devout women’….hmmm – even in the dark hallway the piece was vibrant.
THE VIRGIN CHILD WITH SAINTS, simone martini admittedly, the gold did catch my eye…but mostly it was saint lucy (2nd from left) – she was, by all current measures, beautiful! …and baby jesus seemed more size appropriate!
another surprise…i picked out something different – THE TRAGEDY OF LUCRETIA, botticcelli – what did i learn? at the end of his career botticcelli changed his style – this is an example – the description of his new style “intensely overwrought figures”
THE CHARIOT OF VENUS, francois boucher – it’s about the blue + the light…the french really do ‘the best blues’ – clothes, paintings….plus it is fun to say rococo! rococo!
tiles in the spanish cloister – from iraq, turkey and mexico – very similar to the sketches in isabella’s diary from her travels in egypt
then there’s a pair of shoes….yes it often comes down to the shoes – they are purple satin silk, narrow, tiny, stunning! made for isabella by chapelle’s of paris during one of her visits. no photo – but here is a pair of wedding boots made by the same chapelle – currently in the LACMA (los angeles county museum of art)
here’s a little wander on a wander…if you are in the LA area you may want to check out the LACMA – this installation looks really cool:
back east…the new addition includes the calderwood theater – the room is stunning. there is a great calendar of performances (at reasonable prices) on the website.
before we left we spent some time in the richard floor living room – where we sat, enjoyed the plantings, books, information – and just being in the room. it’s fantastic.
one of the museum’s neighbors is MassArt – replete with old buildings, new buildings + unquantifiable talent. it’s interesting that 2 cool buildings on campus are the old ‘boston normal school’, founded in 1852 to train elementary school teachers and the treehouse – a edgy new award winning building inspired by gustav klimt’s 1909 TREE OF LIFE.
while reading about MassArt i learned that they are the largest FREE contemporary art venue in new england – with loads of galleries + shows. one gallery that looked particulary intriguing is the Bakalar + Paine Galleries (looks like another ‘wandering wednesday adventure)…these pieces are Rogan Brown’s Paper Sculptures
did you know? MassArt was our nation’s 1st independent public college of art and the 1st art school to grant a degree – very cool!
after lunch at the boston public market – a short walk to the harbor
nothing better than having a national park ‘in our own back yard’ -the harbor islands – outdoor time on spectacle island – clear sky, fresh breeze – once ‘just a pile of garbage, then piled high with the debris of the big dig…then capped with some pretty darn good soil + native plants!
end of day – christopher columbus park + the light over boston + a boston nickname
the nickname for the custom house tower is ‘the four faced liar’ as never do any of the 4 clocks show the same time. the wind effects the clock hands on each side differently…and 1/4″ of snow can stop one clock completely…it’s a beauty
isabella stewart gardner museum – beauty, art, history, music + horticulture…an amazing lady
boston harbor islands – live music, yoga, beaches, forts, kite flying, scenic, hiking + walking
rose kennedy greenway + christopher columbus park – strolling, music + dance, flora + fauna, food carts – connecting chinatown + the leather district to the north end