Looking down at Aeschylus

I was here last week:

The Acropolis is stunning. But I also spent a good bit of time looking down from the Acropolis at this place:

This is the Theater of Dionysus. (Wikipedia gives you a better view of it.) It’s where Western drama began, where the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes were first performed in the fifth century BCE. And if that doesn’t make you shiver, what will?

(By the way, Mary Renault’s The Mask of Apollo gives a vivid depiction of what it was like to be an actor in the ancient Greek theater.)

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Botticelli: Madonna and Child and Young St. John the Baptist

I forgot to mention this strange, haunting masterpiece from late in Botticelli’s life (now leaving the Museum of Fine Arts):

Note a great photo, sorry. The writer of this article noticed what I noticed: the Virgin and Child have the same face, almost–certainly the same expression. And they seem to be pushing their way off the canvas. What’s going on?

Botticelli, Matisse, Big Papi

We went to the Museum of Fine Arts to see its exhibitions on Matisse and Botticelli. (Sorry you missed them.) Here is my favorite Matisse: (“Red Interior: Still Life on a Blue Table”, from 1947):

My wife’s favorite was “The Burning Bush” from 1951:

And here is my favorite Botticelli: “Saint Augustine in His Study”, a fresco from 1480:

It’s also the summer of David Ortiz at the MFA. Here’s a display of Big Papi’s three World Series rings and his World Series MVP ring from 2013:

Did Botticelli or Matisse ever accomplish anything comparable to what Big Papi accomplished in 2013? Of course not. Will Big Papi still be remembered half a millennium after his death, like Botticelli? Of course he will. Why are you even asking these questions?

My favorite object at the Harvard Art Museums

An ancient Greek grave stele of a young girl:

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The description reads:

Melisto, daughter of Ktesikrates, holds a doll in her left hand and a bird in the right, and looks down toward the furry little dog springing up at her from the right. She wears a simple girt chiton, like a nightgown.

A girl with a doll and her pets.  So much more interesting than busts of Roman emperors.

Several views of Mount Fuji

The spectacular Hosukai exhibit at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts ended today, and I finally managed to get there.  I took bunches of photos, none of which do justice to the originals.  I’ll post just a few of them today.

Hokusai’s greatest hit was the series of landscape prints called Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.  Here’s the greatest hit of that greatest hit, “The Great Wave of Kanagawa”:

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And here’s “Umezawa in Sagami Province“:

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And “Tsukuda Island in Musashi Province“:

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And “South Wind, Clear Sky”:

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As a special bonus, here is an MFA favorite, Monet’s portrait of his wife in Japanese costume, “La Japonaise”:

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