As I listened to “O Little Town of Bethlehem” on the radio yesterday, for the first time in my life I didn’t picture huts and palm trees like some cartoon Christmas TV special. I thought back to the actual Bethlehem in the West Bank which I visited in the Spring. The old stable of my imagination has been replaced by a drafty Byzantine basilica and the straw by Orthodox icons and lamps. The shepherds and wise men in the Bible story are now an equality diverse group of international visitors. But with all that, the Church of the Nativity still maintains some of the midnight atmosphere and anxious stillness of the first Christmas remembered there.
The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme. This month we are discussing Art and Nature. Check out all the stories below!
Nature has inspired some of the most amazing art – from the representational, majestic landscapes of the Hudson River School to the stylized, curling flowers of the Art Nouveau. A painted landscape was one way to bring the environment back into our homes. The Arts & Crafts movement went one step further and sought to bring the beauty of nature inside and incorporate it into our furnishings and decorations. No one did more to turn parlors into romantic gardens like the British designer William Morris.
We take it for granted that paintings should be shown behind glass, watched by security, and protected in museums. However, for centuries a piece of art was just another personal possession. Someone could have a painting altered just as easily as having pants hemmed. Even pieces by the great masters were not immune to harsh treatment. Even an incredible painting by the Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci was carved up and nearly lost.
This year, Veterans Day is particularly poignant as we commemorate the 100th Anniversary of World War I. While many of us recognize the startling images of World War II, the Great War from 1914-1918 remains a little more distant. To gain some new understanding on this centenary, here are four of the best destinations for discovering World War I history.
The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme. This month we are discussing Hidden Gems. Check out all the stories below. At the risk of being too literal, I’m bringing you a story of a “hidden gem” museum filled with gems!
You don’t have to be an art or history focused traveler to appreciate real jewels. There is something about gold and gemstones that just draws people in as we gaze at the glittering wealth, power, and beauty of these objects. The most impressive collection of priceless jewelry that I’ve ever seen belonged to a real royal dynasty. The House of Habsburg oversaw a massive and prosperous empire for roughly 800 years. Sometimes lost in a city of fantastic art and architecture, you must visit the spectacular family jewels housed in the Imperial Treasury of Vienna.