Boats and Bodies Fishing

September 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

Spent the weekend in Washington DC.
It’s a museum town but I tried not to over do the tourist museum thing, I only went two. One of my favorite museums is the Renwick. It is a small museum with 19th century paintings and contemporary crafts and sculptor. Most of the collection is on the second floor of an lovely 19th century townhouse.
One of the most enjoyable paintings for me was a scene of boats and fishermen . The subtle color and masterful composition was breath taking
. It was painted by Emil Carlsen of Denmark, about 1909.





An Older Women?

July 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

I have passed this Roman statue many times at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.  recently I have taken the time to look a bit more closely and to sort through some of my feelings about it. The one thing that has surfaced is the question of this being an older or old woman. If it is that, then it is also the portrait of of woman who was, and still is, graceful, and beautiful. The sign of being a “proper” member of her society are clear but just as clear to me is a natural beauty that is reluctant of leave her. I hope it never did.  This was carved around 6o or 70 AD 

Drinking Together: The Asian Kendi

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

About a year ago I was in the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) and took photos of a number of items.  Usually I take a photo of the label as well.  Later as I was going though my shots a came across a lovely vessel that I used in a drawing. I discovered that I had no idea what it was or in what museum I had taken the shot. I had not even taken a photo of the label.  I assumed that I was an object some where in MIA’s Asian collection.  I have been wandering the those collections on each visit and have had not discovered it.  I began to wonder if I might be wrong and the object was at the Met in New York City.  This past week however I found the object in a part of the Asian collection at MIA that is somewhat separate from the other, which is upstairs. One the first floor there is India and Southeast Asia.

I later discovered later that the sweet little vessel is called a Kendi. It has a very long history in Asia and is also depicted in European art from time to time. I must admit that I can understand that.  There is something so appealing about its form. This is a lovely  water vessel without handles. It has a long neck that doubles as a place to fill the pot with liquid and  a place to hold, lift and manipulate it.  A spout coming out of a round and squat body. It is a great communal drinking vessel in that liquid can be poured from the vessel with out lips coming into contact with it.

More about Kendi can be found here:

The Familiar Object that Startles

June 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

If you have been reading my blogs you might have noticed that I seem to spend a lot of time at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I like art museums in general and I do like MIA in particular.

One of the objects that I find surprising and wonderful is a car in on the second floor. It is in what I take to be the museum’s collection of Design. I wrote my nephew who is a lover of the contemporary automobile about this car. “It would not be the sort of car that you would not want to encounter on a country road in the middle of the night. You would not know if you should flee or follow.”

Context in is very important here and this car is, I think, a marvelous addition to the Museum’s collection.

Food for Thought

June 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

It is odd to think that of all the forms of paintings that there are, still lives seem to have effected me the deepest. I can recall being in an art museum in  Antwerp when it dawned on me that I was getting more pleasure from viewing the still lives than anything else in the museum.  Perhaps it was dovetailed  with another  interest… food.

In later years when I worked as a museum educator at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. I recall more than once the pleasure I received teaching elementary school groups in front of a still life of cakes, raisins and a glass of wine by Raphaelle Peale. The pleasure came from coxing out of them information they already knew.  “What time of Year do you think it is?” I would ask and eventually by looking at the fruit, in particular the raisins, they would see that it was fall or winter.  I then would ask them to be more specific,  to consider the cakes. Eventually seeing the green and red sugar decoration on the cakes they would conclude that it was probably the Christmas season. The discovery that they did not have to get all the information from me but rather they could make discoveries on their own by looking and putting the clues together was a happy revelation for many a child.  At least that was my intention and my hope.

For more about the Peale family Play Video

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