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Posts tagged ‘museums’

Re-Opening the Renwick and the Morning After

The quiet child of the Smithsonian family of museums re-opened this November with a surprisingly bold statement.  The aptly named Wonder exhibit is well worth a visit for its truly impressive installation pieces.  While I’m happy to have the Renwick Gallery back, this re-birthday party feels overly flashy, just a bit narcissistic, and certainly out of character for a museum dedicated to decorative arts.  While an entertaining show, I am left wondering about the future of this museum and the potential for a reinvented purpose.

Renwick Gallery facade

The “new” Renwick Gallery at dusk

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Changing Paintings After They are “Finished”

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 Concepts in Art!  Take a look at all the creative interpretations of his topic at the bottom of the page.

Art museums are sometimes criticized for being stale and distant.  Mill about, look at the pieces, and under no circumstances do you touch the art!  Paintings haven’t always received this degree of reverence.  While today we analyze the artist’s intent and interpret the underlying meaning of the work, for centuries paintings we just decorations.  Owners could change something as easily as we repaint a bookcase or substitute a bathroom light fixture.  So today I want to think about the concept of “finished” art and what it means when paintings are changed by people other than the original artist.

"A Dominican, with the Attributes of Saint Peter Martyr" by Giovanni Bellini

(left) “A Dominican, with the Attributes of Saint Peter Martyr” by Giovanni Bellini and (right) a digitally created image based on scientific data illustrating what the original Bellini painting would have looked like. Later alterations transformed the naturalistic portrait into a devotional religious painting. National Gallery, UK (Images)

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The Scrovegni Chapel: My Moment with Giotto’s Masterpiece

To enter the Scrovegni Chapel, you have to spend 15 minutes in a “environmental equilibration” chamber and video introduction before passing through two air locks into the chapel.  Shockingly, visitors only get another 15 minutes to look around before being rushed out by security.  However, if you are a clever art pilgrim (like yours truly) and book multiple back-to-back tickets, the museum escort chases everyone else out but leaves you alone for a few glorious minutes within the chapel.

Standing at the altar looking down the rows of painted vignettes, the rich pastel colors glowing warmly from the morning sunlight, has got to be one of the most profoundly beautiful art experience I have ever had.  To say I loved the Scrovegni Chapel would be an understatement.

Giotto Scrovegni Chapel, Padua

Photo of Giotto’s masterpiece, the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua (Photo: Art Bouillon)

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Slow Art Day 2015: Two Nanny Paintings

One of the most amazing things about museums is that every visit can bring you a new discovery.  I decided to spend Slow Art Day 2015 with the National Gallery of Art.  Even though the NGA and I are old friends, I still found some amazing pieces, examined overlooked details and learned about a new artist.  In the spirit of the Slow Art movement, let me show you just a piece of what I found when I decided to limit myself to looking at 5 paintings in the whole museum.

national gallery of art in Spring

The National Gallery of Art Rotunda decorated for Spring

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Washington DC: An Art and Culture Capital

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 Cities.  Below you’ll find a list of all the stories!

This month we also welcome a new member, Lizzie from WanderArti!  Her blog features handy city art guides and profiles contemporary artists who are inspired by travel.  Be sure to check out her site!

US capitol, autumn leaves

You’ve got to love excellent urban planning that gives you stunning views like this.

I travel all over the world looking for artistic wonders and historical places, but to be fair, I actually have it really good back home.  I live in Washington D.C. and it is a lot more than just the political capital of the US.  It is also a world-class art, culture and history destination.  From the museums to the architecture to the festivals, Washington DC is a wonderful place to live and to visit!

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