This weekend my husband and I took a mini-vacation. We went to Boston, MA to see the Botticelli exhibit currently ongoing at the Boston Museum of Fine Art. It’s a different experience looking at a painting when you paint yourself. A couple of months ago I made my first visit to the Metropolitan in NYC since I became a painter. It was rather mind-blowing. Suddenly the brush strokes seemed alive and engaging visually was a completely new experience. This made me all the more eager to see the Botticelli exhibit as he’s one of my favorite painters. Sadly, I was rather disappointed.
The exhibit is small and the day we visited the museum was sweltering. Apparently, the air conditioning was off or broken (a store clerk told me it must be broken) and it was hot enough that it nearly made me ill. That alone would have been enough to ruin the experience for me – if you care about your patrons (not to mention the art –heat isn’t good for paintings), you don’t subject them to this level of discomfort. It was quite nauseating. More to the point though, the exhibit itself was poorly done. There are a number of paintings by Botticelli’s teacher Lippi, and several from some of his students. That was a positive as it allowed the viewer to see the continuity from generation to generation. However, and there are two significant howevers, the Botticelli paintings chosen were not his best. They tended toward his later period, and with the exception of his Venus, were largely uninspired. More importantly, the commentary at the exhibit ignores completely the impact the insane Christian Savanarola had both on Florentine art in general and Botticelli in particular. He’s mentioned in passing, but what isn’t mentioned is that Botticelli burned some of his artwork and afterwards, turned away from classical subjects and his lush style. His work post Savanarola is quite simply dreary and uninspired. It really marked a step back for the painter. I don’t usually come down on the side of setting people on fire, but with Savanarola, I’d be first in line to light the match.
That being said, there were other things in the museum that caught my eye and made the trip more than worthwhile. They had a full room, for instance, dedicated to Dionysos. It had all sorts of figurines, vases, wine cups and items related to Symposium. We spent a great deal of time in that room.
This ^ is perhaps one of my favorite attic vases ever. It shows Hyakinthus in the erotic embrace of Zephyrus, mid flight.
There was quite a lovely collection of Roman statuary, including this Eros statue.
Many of the items were quite quirky, at least I found them so.
(Venus with a snap)
They even had a few interesting Madonna with child images.
This Jesus is fabulous. (I love the expressiveness of Mary’s face here)
This ^ one will mess you up. Lol.
I haven’t processed all the photos that I took, but over the next week, I’ll try to do so and post some more here.
We also hit up two bookstores, Brattle bookshop and Commonwealth books, which I absolutely recommend. Check out our book haul. ^__^.
There’s a lot to do in Boston and I’ve really enjoyed my last couple of visits. I think next time, I want to come up when it’s a bit cooler and visit all the historical sites. So far, I’ve not had time to do so and it’s a city with such a rich history.
We stayed at the Langham. It’s a lovely hotel. I know some people don’t care about their hotels, figuring that when on vacation one doesn’t spend much time there, but for me, it’s an important part of the travel experience. I stayed here years and years ago with my adopted mom and it was every bit as nice as I remembered. (My only complaint, both times I’ve stayed, is that their in house massage therapists are just awful. I think the worst massage I’ve ever had was on this visit. The hotel I rate four stars, the massage negative four. I can’t help but wonder if there’s a local school turning them out. I get massage per doctor’s orders at least three times a month and have for years. Of my top three worst massages ever, two were at the Langham so stay at the hotel, enjoy it, but for the love of the Gods, skip the spa).
(all photos mine unless otherwise noted. Please do not use without my express written permission).