I made my third visit to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to slowly explore the art collections, gallery by gallery, piece by piece. You can see my first and second trips on this blog. On this visit I decided to focus on the Art of Europe galleries. I started out on level 1, which turned out not to always be European, nor even “art,” but the was fine. In fact I saw several wonderful exhibitions. The Kunstkammer Gallery honors the “cabinets of curiosity” that flourished in 17th century Europe and were the root of modern museums. The collections included hand-crafted automatons with videos that showed them working! Pastoral to Pop shows the rapid change in British prints and drawings over the course of the 20th century. And my favorite of all, Unfinished Stories is an absolutely delightful collection of found photographs grouped together by themes. You’ll never look at your family snapshots the same way.
On the second level, I explored the Italian Renaissance art gallery and learned about Maiolica, the brightly colored Italian tin-glazed pottery. I then joined a highlights tour of the Art of Europe which took us from a 12th-century Catalan chapel through the works of the Impressionists. It was an informative hour. I was able to return to the medieval and Renaissance galleries on my own for a more in-depth exploration, but then my time ran out, so the rest of the Art of Europe galleries on the second level await my return.
Detail of a bureau cabinet with an ivory inlays. Made in India (1725-40) in the English style.
Harlequine and Leda, Germany, about 1759-1760. “Now watch me whip, now watch me nae nae!”
Diana and Stag automaton, Germany 1579-1620
Nef (‘ship’), Germany, about 1620.
Nautilus cup, The Netherlands, 1659
Cyril E. Power, Air Raid, about 1935
Cyril E. Power, The Escalator, about 1929
Snapshot of a couple
Snapshots of surprised baby and dog.
Selfie with a steamship.
Dancing on the railroad tracks (this should be the cover of some band’s Americana album).
Henri de Toulouse-Latrec, Carmen Goudin in the Artist’s Studio, 1888
Guanyin, Germany, about 1720
The Last Supper, Italy, 16th century
Sandro Botticelli, Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist, about 1500 (perhaps the most beautiful painting in the MFA!)
Kneeling knight (Spain, around 1600) in front of Window with eight Apostles, the Pieta, and saints (England, early 15th century)
Eucharistic dove, France, about 1200-50
Christ in Majesty with Symbols of the Four Evangelists, Spain (Catalan), about 1150-1200. (This is the image of Jesus most likely to say ‘Duuude!”)`
Virgin and Child on the Crescent Moon, Austria, about 1440-50
Fray Hortensio Felix Paravicino, El Greco, 1609
Appeal to the Great Spirit, Cyrus Dallin, 1909 with Boston skyline.
Author: Alfie Kohn
Title: The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting
Narrator: Alfie Kohn
Publication Info:Tantor Audio (2014)
Summary/Review: The current generation of children are often described by the media, politicians, and even parents as entitled and narcissistic. Alfie Kohn shows through his research that 1. similar statements have been applied to children for centuries, 2. there’s no evidence to show that these statements are true for any generation, and 3. strategies and policies for parenting and education formed by a belief that children are particularly “spoiled” today are actually harmful to children. This is a fascinating book that offers a lot of research that shows that parents and teachers are actually too controlling. There’s an idea that life is all about competition and the kids “better get used to it now” which forces children to experience everything as a competition rather than a learning experience. As Kohn succinctly states “Competition undermines achievement,” which is something our leaders and policy makers fail to understand especially when it comes to children. Definitely a must-read book!
Recommended books: Reign of Error by Diane Ravitch, Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood by Steven Mintz, and Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy.