Archive for the ‘Museum Related’ Category

Incredible Craftsmanship in Glass, Silver and Wood   1 comment

Truly fine craftsmanship has the power to intrigue and inspire. It represents the best efforts of a gifted individual to reach heights of beauty and mystery that go well beyond the ordinary. I was fortunate enough to see so many such examples as I walked the galleries of the Art Institute of Chicago, some of which appear in my previous posts.  As a continuation, today I’ll present to you some of the inspiring pieces executed in glass, silver and wood.  The wonderful thing about these pieces is the realization that one can look at them time and time again, yet see something new in them each time.  As in the last post, I’ll let the images speak for themselves.

As we  enter the gallery our attention is attracted to this lovely Tiffany lamp, glowing in the dimmed light.

A closeup of the dragonfly pattern…

Nestled along a wall is a full-length window of stained glass, also by Tiffany.  It is approximately 9 feet in height…absolutely beautiful.

Detail of the lily portion of the window…a camera cannot fully do it justice.

Detail of the upper half of the window….

Around another corner is a grouping of spectacular sterling silver, from the studios of Tiffany and Co.

Placed along the walls of the gallery are many fine examples of 18th and 19th craftsmanship in wood from various cabinetmakers of the time.

And one more…

I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of what I experienced.  I for one am truly thankful that these beautiful pieces of fine artistry have been preserved and protected for our delight and the delight of future generations.  A museum such as this is one of our most important public assets because it showcases the best of human achievement and provides inspiration to those coming up through the ranks.  I know it inspires me every time I visit.

Enjoy your day!

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Real Eye Candy….Beautiful Jewelry at the Art Institute   Leave a comment

Thought I’d share some of the eye candy, in the form of jewelry, I had the good fortune to experience on my recent trip to Chicago’s wonderful Art Institute of Chicago Museum a few weeks ago.  Each piece is exquisite in its own right.  Each was behind glass of course, but I think you can still get the essence of the beauty of the craftsmanship, design and materials. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

The first item is ancient, from Egypt….a necklace incorporating rock crystal, gold, glass beads, shell, and mosaic glass.

Next is a Hellenistic age bracelet from Syria…..2nd century BC, utilizing gold, semi-precious stones and glass.

A finely crafted necklace of gold, garnet and emerald…Roman, 3rd century AD.

Cameo portraits of Tiberius….Roman, AD 14-37

Next, I wandered into the gallery of Spanish Renaissance  jewelry.  Below is a small gold crown made for a statue in the early 17th century.  Enameled gold, emeralds, diamonds and aquamarine gems adorn the intricate crown.

All manner of fabulous gold and gem creations awaited me….

A cross…its backside just as beautiful as the front.  Here is the front.

And here is the back.

More fantastic pieces…

One more piece from the Renaissance gallery, not jewelry, but also very beautiful.

And finally, a wonderful grouping from the American Decorative gallery…This necklace and earring set were made by the well known Chicago firm the Kalo Shop, circa 1905-14

It would certainly be hard to pick a favorite, wouldn’t it?

I am inspired by each and every one.

Next post, I’ll show you some of the beautiful Tiffany glass and silver that I encountered.

Enjoy your day.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night..and some quick musings on Chicago   Leave a comment

Well!  I’m back from Chicago and sorting through 300 odd photos.  The Matisse exhibit was outstanding and chronicled a very prolific period of his career, showcasing everything from drawings, monotypes, oils and sculpture executed between the years  of 1913-1917.

Unfortunately, although the museum allows photographs in all other areas of the facility, it did not allow cameras to be used in the Matisse exhibit, so I will have to try to find some of the images for you from other sources.  But as I said, I took many other photos of various works in the museum and also some of the interesting things I saw around town.  Chicago is a wonderful city with eye candy at every turn….all you have to do is look for it.  With it being May, there was a profusion of tulips in all sorts of plantings throughout the downtown area…

And then of course, there’s the wonderful architecture!

But for tonight I must make this short.  It is a very dark and stormy night with severe weather moving through Northeast Ohio.  Our tornado sirens have sounded twice already and you can be sure we made a quick retreat to the basement.  More high winds are predicted later as well, so I will sign off and continue my Chicago story tomorrow or the next day.

I hope all of you have a safe and pleasant evening.

A Wider View   Leave a comment

If you step back a bit,  even more decorative elements come into view.  Here’s the whole exquisite box.

Strawberries in Winter   Leave a comment

Today’s small is the surface decoration on this lovely painted box (circa 1830’s -40’s if I am remembering correctly) which resides in the American Folk Art section of The Art Institute of Chicago.  Although it was behind glass, I managed to get a close-up of the delicate motifs that ornament the top and sides, as well as the border of diminutive strawberries which provides a lyrical sort of rhythm around the edge of the box.

Whether this was used for trinkets or had some other use I cannot say.  I wonder how many people treasured this fine example of American craftsmanship, and how many generations placed it on their tabletop or dresser before it finally found a home in the museum?

I will stop in to visit it again in April when I return to see the Matisse exhibit, which should be another feast for the eyes.  Perhaps then I will be able to provide more details.  At any rate, it is worth a close look and provides a breath of spring on this cold March day.  Enjoy.