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Posts tagged ‘art’

Gilded Age Decorative Arts: Chicago’s Driehaus Museum

front entry Driehaus Museum

Magnificant marble front entrance to the Driehaus Museum

Nothing captures the artistic spirit of an era like a historic home.  Through a coherent assemblage of architectural elements, furniture, and decor, you can get an absolute understanding of a period’s design principles.  I recently visited the Driehaus Museum in Chicago which presents within its luxurious rooms the evolving American decorative arts of the Gilded Age.  This mansion is also a startlingly beautiful oasis in the modern business center of Chicago and definitely worth a visit!

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Brunelleschi the Architect: More Than Florence’s Duomo

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are looking at architecture.  Check out all the stories below!

Florence Cathedral Duomo

Florence Cathedral Duomo (Photo: Flickr, Bruce Stokes)

If you know Florence, Italy, then you know Filippo Brunelleschi.  He was the architect who designed and constructed the soaring dome of the Florence Cathedral.  While still impressive today, this engineering feat was revolutionary in the 15th century.  But what many people don’t realize is that Brunelleschi completed several other equally influential buildings in Florence.  Brunelleschi’s chapels and churches set the standard for Renaissance architecture by re-introducing and expanding on Roman architectural concepts.  The harmonious and proportioned designs of Brunelleschi’s buildings makes them a must-see, even in a city overflowing with fantastic art.

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Exploring China and Kenya at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

It’s not every day that you can walk from Kenya to China, but that’s what I did this Saturday.  Every summer for two weeks, the National Mall is DC is transformed into a center for global culture when it hosts the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.  Over 100 artisans, musicians, performers, and chefs take up residence and share their national traditions with Washington DC.  The rich cultures of Kenya and China were presented this year and I had a wonderful time exploring the festivities!

Folklife Chinese gate

The Flower Plaque gate made of bamboo, paper, and plastic welcomes visitors into the Chinese section of the Festival.

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The Ruins of Pergamon

The ancient city of Pergamon, just outside modern Bergama, is not necessarily on the “tourist trail” in Turkey, so I made a special point to visit.  From the garden behind my guesthouse, I shared a bottle of Raki with the other travelers and watched the fading sunset and twilight dance across the ancient ruins on the mountain above us.  My mind wandered back and forth between imagining this once magnificent capitol city and contemplating the quiet, emptied ruins present today.  That ancient Pergamon exists at all today in Bergama, Turkey is a wonder and a testament to its phenomenal and multi-layered history.

Part of the Palace complex, Pergamon

Part of the Temple of Trajan, Pergamon

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The Airport Rijksmuseum: Best Layover Ever

Lay-overs can be excruciating.  The anticipation of arriving at a new destination or finally getting home makes it hard to keep reading your “airplane book” on the ground.  You can only browse the duty free stores for so long.  And really, how many laps can you walk through the terminal before that starts to get old?  For the art lover or curious traveler, salvation from airport lay-over boredom can be found at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport which contains a mini Rijksmuseum!  It’s actually worth planning to have a lay-over in Amsterdam just to check it out!

viewing Rijksmuseum, SChiphol aiport amsterdam

There is always time to fit in a little more art when you travel! Travelers visit the mini Rijksmuseum at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam.

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