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.
I’m not someone you will often find at a college football game, but I got free tickets from work (full disclosure: my employer has a football team) and my son enjoys going to sporting events of any kind. So on September 26, Peter & I made our way to Harvard Stadium to see the Crimson take on Brown. A few years back, we saw Harvard run up the score in a torrential downpour against Holy Cross. For this game, the weather was crisp and clear, a perfect autumn night, but Harvard still ran up the score.
I may not be a big fan of football, but I love historic sporting venues and seeing a game in Harvard Stadium is a treat (when it’s not raining). It was also nice to be there when a lot of other fans were present for the atmosphere, including a large number of students who we first saw having a rowdy tailgate in the parking area. Unfortunately, with the score 37-0 at halftime, most of the other spectators departed, making it feel very lonely in the cavernous stadium. After the game, kids were invited on the field and Peter got autographs from a couple of Harvard players which was pretty cool.
Maybe I’ll do this again in another three years.
Refs in the zone.
Peter tries to identify the players.
Harvard defense prevents Brown from scoring.
The band’s half time show was full of painfully bad jokes.
No Brown players will be going in here.
Soldiers Field panorama
The Harvard dance squad does a quick show between quarters.
Peter in the end zone
The bass drum is running for president.
The fifth annual JP Music Festival took place at Pinebank Field on September 13. Too my shame, I missed the first four festivals, but I took the kids to a few hours on Saturday afternoon. Sadly, the kids weren’t too interested. My son was completely bored, my daughter was having fun but mostly because she enjoyed tackling me. We did get ice cream from the JP Licks tent and the kids enjoyed a bunch o’bacon from The Bacon Truck.
The performances are impressively organized with acts coming on to stage with very little break in-between. If you didn’t like what you heard, just wait a few minutes and someone else would be on stage. In the short three hours we were there I must’ve seen 8 different acts ranging from jazz to punk to Afro-Latin percussion to dance. Highlights for me include Junko Ogawa‘s song about a caterpillar, the punk saxophone of Fur Purse, and the young dancers of the Tony Williams Ballet Youth Ensemble pretty much stole the show.
The food trucks are a yummy part of the festival.
Junko Ogawa takes the mic.
This photo would be much better if you could see the shiny silver pants of the lead vocalist of Fur Purse.
Festival art honors the albino squirrel of Jamaica Pond.
Tony Williams dancers.
More dancing in the grass
The setting sun lights up Boston’s landmark architecture on my bike ride home on Friday, September 11, 2015.
The Freedom Trail may be the most hackneyed of Boston tourist destinations, but it’s still worth it for a resident to take a walk on it every so often. And taking my children on the walk for the first time, I got to see it through their eyes. Plus, there are always some surprises, like a pop-up concert by the Handel and Haydn Society at King’s Chapel (which entranced my daughter).
Walking the line.
Massachusetts 54th Memorial
Skull & crossbones at Granary Burying Ground.
Listening to the Handel and Haydn Society vocalists.
Traffic cones need to pray too.
“Statue of Benjamin Franklin, do you have a reservation?”
An obstacle to Freedom
The circular staircase of the Old State House dates to 1830 when it was renovated to be Boston City Hall.
The view from the Old State House balcony.
Paul Revere wants a high five.
Kitty at Old North Church.
Tired little patriots.
On the second day of taking my kids to see extremely touristy things in our hometown, we took a Boston Duck Tour and then viewed Boston from the Prudential Skywalk Observatory. In-between we enjoyed a picnic lunch by the fountain in the Christian Science Center plaza.
Admiring Boston’s great architecture.
And not so great. Our conducktor pointed out that this resembles a robotic frog.
Splashing down in the Charles.
Professor Quackinstein lets the kids take the wheel.
Playing by the fountain.
The fountain looks much smaller from up here.
A Boston guide entranced by the view and his audio guide.
Join me and several other talented Boston By Foot walking tour guides as we lead a special Tour of the Month of Roxbury Highlands. The tour begins at 2 pm on Sunday, August 30 at Roxbury Crossing station on the MBTA Orange Line.
Practical vinyl siding side-by-side with full-on restoration to Victorian era.
We start in the Stony Brook valley and work our way uphill and through history to the top of Fort Hill, passing through Roxbury’s colonial town center at Eliot Square along the way. Learn how Roxbury went from early colonial settlement to strategic military location to bucolic suburb to immigration destination to one of Boston’s densest neighborhoods. See Roxbury Highlands continue to transform with ongoing restoration and new construction.
Photo of Alvah Kittredge house from 2007, you won’t believe what it looks like now!
The full description of the tour is on the Boston By Foot website where you can also pre-order tickets!
The Roxbury Highlands tour explores a remarkable neighborhood. Our tour travels through the center of colonial Roxbury: Eliot Square, where the First Church proudly stands as the oldest wooden church in Boston. The Highlands flourished in the mid-19th century as a garden suburb with many pear and apple orchards. There was even an apple named after the area – the Roxbury Russet. We will see wonderful Greek Revival and Victorian houses along our route and discuss some of the amazing individuals who called this area home including Edward Everett Hale – author of The Man Without a Country, and Louis Prang – who printed the first Christmas cards in America. Finally, we finish on top of the hill at the Roxbury Standpipe, in a lovely park which occupies the location of the Roxbury High Fort. Come explore with us!
More photos from the 2007 tour to whet your whistle for Sunday.