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?

Goya and more

We visited the massive, crowded Goya exhibit at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts yesterday.  What’s amazing about Goya is the prodigality and variety of his output–everything from standard portraits of royalty to antiwar prints to pure weirdness.  I couldn’t take photos, but here are some images that stuck with me.  First, an allegory of time:

Here’s the lovely Duchess of Alba (pointing to the ground, where “solo Goya” is written–Goya alone could have painted this: And here’s the luminous “Last Communion of Saint Joseph of Calasanz”:

The reproduction, alas, doesn’t give you any sense of the size and power of the image (in particular, it cuts off the celestial light shining down out of the endless black space about the scene).

Since I had my iPhone with me, I took a photo of an MFA favorite: “Boston Common at Twilight” by Childe Hassam:

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And here’s one of a pair of weird sculptures now displayed at either side of the museum’s Fenway entrance.  They’re called Night and Day and they’re by a contemporary Spanish painter. This one, with her eyes closed, is night:

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Sparkly mayonnaise jars and modern art

During my recent trip to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts I took this photo of modern food items treated somehow to make them sparkle:

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I’m guessing this is a trenchant commentary on American consumerism.  But I could be wrong–the artist might just enjoy making mayonnaise jars and cracker boxes sparkle.  In either case I’m a bit baffled by why these objects are in a major art museum.

Seems to me you go to a museum like the MFA to view objects that you’ll want to view again and again.  Like this happy, wise statue:

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Or this famous Renoir (sorry for the tilty iPhone):

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I don’t think I’m cut out to be an art critic.

A photo of a statue and a painting of a girl looking at the statue

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has a cute effect in one of its galleries.  On one of the walls is a realistic painting of people gazing at the paintings and statuary in that very gallery.  In the painting you see a girl looking at a statue, with the statue itself standing just a few feet away from the painting.  Here’s a photo of the statue and, in the background, the painting of the girl looking at the statue:

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Michelangelo drawings at the Museum of Fine Arts

The drawings are on loan from the Casa Buonarotti in Florence. Okay, my photographs could have been better. What do you want for free?  The light was dim to protect the drawings.

Cleopatra was my favorite. Notice the asp encircling her like a necklace:

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Here’s a famous Madonna and Child. That’s one well-fed baby:

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And here is a study for the head of the Madonna in some painting:

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Who doesn’t like busts of Roman emperors from the Museum of Fine Arts?

As a pre-Father’s Day treat I went to Buston’s Museum of Fine Arts with my son (the good one, not the other one).  I took lots of random photos.  Here are three photos of Roman emperors, in descending order of greatness. Plus a goddess.

This is a well-known bust of Augustus as a young man (it’s an idealized likeness from after his death):

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And here’s a somewhat placid-looking Hadrian:

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And here is the loser emperor Balbinus, who managed to rule as co-emperor for three whole months before the Praetorian Guard offed him (238 AD was not a great year to be a Roman emperor):

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As a special bonus image, here is a statue of the goddess Juno, which I am told is the largest Classical marble statue in North America.  I should have my good kid stand in front of her to show you her size.

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