Showing posts with label art history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art history. Show all posts

31.1.24

Rediscovering "Bélizaire and the Frey Children": A Tale of Resilience in Southern Art

Hey, y’all. I’m in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the American Wing. Y’all — it’s a moment of rediscovery for this New Orleanian! I’m standing before the once-lost-now-found “Bélizaire and the Frey Children,” a significant artwork that was hidden in the New Orleans Museum of Art’s storage for ages.

🎨 Painted circa 1837 by Jacques Guillaume Lucien Amans, this portrait captures an upper-class New Orleans family before the Civil War and includes Bélizaire, an enslaved Afro-Creole teenager — he was perhaps fifteen year’s old. What’s truly remarkable is Bélizaire’s inclusion in the Frey family portrait — a rare depiction of a person of color in Southern art of that era.
The painting’s history is as haunting as it is fascinating. After the Spanish flu struck, tragically claiming the lives of the three Frey children, Bélizaire’s image was deliberately erased from the painting, likely by a Frey family member. Yet, his presence lingered like a ghostly outline, defying his erasure.
🔍 Thanks to the efforts of historian Katy Morlas Shannon and art collector Jeremy K. Simien, Bélizaire’s story has been uncovered and his image restored. This painting not only offers a glimpse into the complex world of 19th-century New Orleans but also symbolizes resilience against historical erasure.
🖼️ “Bélizaire and the Frey Children” stands as a testament to our complicated history and the enduring spirit of those who were once overlooked. It’s a haunting yet beautiful reminder of our past.

29.11.23

Exploring Ancient Herms: A Visit to the Met Museum and Discovering Timeless Symbols

Join me on a journey through the Met Museum, exploring ancient herms and uncovering the enduring influence of these fascinating artifacts.

🏛️ Spent the day exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and guess what caught my eye? Herms! These ancient pillars featured the busts of gods like Hermes and marked roads, entrances, and even doorways in the ancient world. Swipe left to see the striking example I found!
🚶‍♂️Why Hermes? He’s not just any god; he’s the patron saint of travelers and the psychopomp ferrying souls to the afterlife. Talk about multitasking! Hermes is also the god of commerce. These pillars were more than just art; they were divine guideposts for ancient society.

🚄 Flashback to earlier this summer when I was admiring the statue of Hermes perched atop Grand Central Station. Mind. Blown. 🤯 I suddenly realized that Grand Central is like a modern-day herm! It’s a transit hub guiding travelers and bustling with shops and eateries, making it a center of commerce, too.

🔁 The ancient and the modern worlds aren’t as far apart as we often think. It’s awe-inspiring to see that the symbolism of herms and Hermes has traveled through time, just like the travelers they protect and guide.

🌟 So next time you pass through Grand Central or another bustling hub, maybe take a moment to appreciate the millennia of human history that continue to resonate in our daily lives. Who knows what other timeless symbols are around us, quietly shaping our world?

27.7.23

Aesthetic Thursday: Encountering St. Firmin, the Ultimate Multitasker from the 4th Century, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Embark on a historical journey with a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, home to a striking 13th-century French limestone sculpture of St. Firmin, the fourth-century multitasker. Explore the mesmerizing world of medieval art and uncover the enigmatic saint's intriguing tale of unwavering faith, becoming a bishop, and his peculiar post-decapitation joy. 
I am at the Metropolitan Museum of Art today, and I embark on a captivating journey through time as we explore the mesmerizing world of medieval art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our focus lies on an intriguing 13th-century French limestone sculpture of none other than St. Firmin, a high-achieving multitasker hailing from the fourth-century (i.e., a Roman Catholic Saint with a penchant for carrying his decapitated head).

Encountering St. Firmin, the ultimate multitasker from the 4th century, at the #MetropolitanMuseumOfArt today. 🎨🏛️ Staring at this 13th-century French wooden sculpture, it's clear this #Saint wasn't your average holy man! 😇🙏 Quickly ascending the celestial corporate ladder, he claimed the coveted position of Bishop at #Amiens.

But here's the quirky part — he's joyfully holding his head! Yes, you read that right. A case of post-decapitation bliss, perhaps? 😂🤔 Nevertheless, he seems quite content. Go, hun!

A day well spent appreciating #ArtHistory and uncovering some divine oddities. Truly, there's nothing like a #SaintStory to keep things interesting! 💫📖

As we stand before this masterful creation, we can't help but wonder about the life and accomplishments of this enigmatic saint. St. Firmn's journey was one of immense determination and unwavering faith. Climbing the celestial corporate ladder, he eventually earned the esteemed position of bishop at Amiens, France – a feat that undoubtedly demanded great dedication and virtue.

Yet, what truly captivates us is the portrayal of St. Firmin holding his head in his hands, an expression of joy illuminating his features. His happiness and contentment in this sculpture are palpable, leaving us with the question: What was the source of his boundless joy?
A limestone sculpture of Saint Firmin
Saint Firmin


Indeed Saint Firmin is a real person and is said to have been beheaded in Amiens, France; his feast day is celebrated on September 25th. However, historical records do not confirm the exact year of his death. It's believed to have occurred during the early 4th century, possibly around 303 C.E. Miracles attributed to the discovery and translation of his relics during the time of Bishop Savin are part of the saint's hagiography.

Steeped in history, medieval art provides a rich tapestry of stories that often speak to the human experience. St. Firmn's sculpture is no exception. The depiction of a saint holding his head symbolizes his unwavering devotion to the church, even amidst the trials and challenges he faced. Also, Saint Firmin is a martyr, which means he gave up his life for his belief and devotion to Christ. In this way, martyrs are often depicted in the same way they were killed — in this example, by cutting off the poor saint's head. To illustrate that for the Christian — death is not the end, but a beginning — he carries his head as a defiance against the ravages of sin and death. And how are you doing?

Seeing such a treasure trove of medieval pieces at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is also cool. The museum serves as a befitting venue for our encounter with St. Firmn. Its halls house an extensive collection of art that transcends time, mimicking the architecture of a Gothic cathedral, allowing us to connect with our past and embrace the beauty of diverse cultures and histories.

So, next time you find yourself at the Met, take a moment to visit this 13th-century French limestone sculpture and meet the remarkable St. Firmn. Witness his joy and dedication, and let it be a reminder that happiness lies in pursuing our passions and fulfilling our purpose in life. Keep your head on properly.

In conclusion, a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art can be more than just an exploration of history – it can also be an introspective journey, connecting us with the triumphs and struggles of those who came before us. Let St. Firmn's story inspire us as we continue our paths, aiming to find joy and fulfillment in our endeavors, just as he did in the fourth century.

16.7.23

A Marvel in Marble: The Angel Relief Sculpture by Antonio Rizzo at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Explore a captivating 15th-century marble relief by Antonio Rizzo at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, bridging modern life with Renaissance grandeur.

Today, I found myself immersed in the magnificence of 15th-century Italian art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. A marble relief of a youthful angel holding a shield, crafted by the masterful hands of Antonio Rizzo in 1470, caught my attention.
Angel Holding a Shield, Antonio Rizzo, Italian, 1470

      Antonio Rizzo, a Venetian, renowned for his exquisite artistry during the Italian Renaissance, has intricately carved this ethereal figure in such a way that every detail unfolds a story. One could imagine it initially adorned an ornate doorway or entranceway, in Venice, greeting onlookers with its divine elegance.
     The angel's face, in particular, is the highlight of the sculpture. The superior skill evident in the relief's intricate facial detailing is mesmerizing. The artistry so profoundly etched in marble seems to transcend the realm of humans, creating a space that teeters between our world and the celestial one.
     Accompanied by my granny, a mutual connoisseur of 15th-century relief sculptures, we spent a meaningful moment admiring this masterpiece. The experience brought alive the extravagance of the period, a feeling often captured by the “granny” voice that I use for social media narration.
     In a world so connected yet often detached, the angel by Antonio Rizzo at the Metropolitan Museum of Art bridges the gap between our modern lives and the artistic grandeur of the Renaissance. As it did in the 15th century, it inspires and evokes wonder, reminding us that art can sometimes evoke wonder and reverence.

15.7.23

Unearthing Mysteries: An Encounter with Fortuna at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A Byzantine Tale of Civilization and Fate at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Where history meets artistry.

I am standing amidst the breathtaking expanse of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Amid the myriad of artifacts and art pieces, I find myself drawn to an artifact of particular intrigue. At first glance, it may not command your immediate attention, but I assure you, its narrative is as grand as any. It's a captivating statuette hailing from the Byzantine era, bearing the likeness of a Roman goddess: Fortuna, also known as Tyche.
Statuette of the Personification of a City, Copper alloy, Late Roman or Byzantine
Fortuna (Tyche), Late Roman
or Byzantine ca. 300-500 C.E.

Upon closer inspection, you begin to notice the details etched into this statuette that elevate it from a simple representation of a goddess to a profound symbol of historical narrative. A distinguishing feature of Fortuna is her sculptural headdress, ingeniously designed to mimic a city-like fortress, replete with a gate, and walls to fortify it. The statuette portrays her with this sculptural motif of a city perched atop her head — a poignant indication of the goddess's authority and influence.

But, the statuette holds more in its petite form. Cradled in Fortuna's hand is a cornucopia - a classic emblem of abundance and prosperity. This combination, a city upon her head and a symbol of prosperity in her hand, is powerful. It's a juxtaposition that beautifully ties together the themes of urban society and fortune.

The statuette isn't merely an exquisite work of art; it's a vessel, carrying layers of symbolism and a profound narrative within it. Fortuna, adorned in her cityscape headdress, seated on a throne, paints a picture of the intricate relationship between chance or fortune and the development of civilization. It's a compelling reminder of how the evolution of societies has always been tied to the capricious hands of fate.

So, it isn't just a 'cool little statuette' - it's a piece of history, a symbol of societal evolution, and a testament to the intricate craftsmanship of the Byzantine era. It's the embodiment of the idea that every artifact carries a tale, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be told. Take a moment to admire this extraordinary piece of history and let Fortuna's tale unfold.

12.7.23

Marveling at Tullio Lombardo's Young Warrior: A Journey into Late 15th Century Venetian Art


Tucked into a portion of the east side of Central Park in New York City, nestled among a myriad of remarkable artifacts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, stands a profound example of late 15th-century Venetian art. This remarkable piece is a marble sculpture of a young warrior by Tullio Lombardo, a master of the Italian Renaissance from Venice. The immersive experience of admiring this piece face-to-face truly transcends the ordinary museum visit.

10.7.23

Exploring Ancient Rome: The Majestic Bust of Marcus Aurelius at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I've taken to re-visiting some of my favorite works of art. Here's a fantastic piece from Rome — created around the second century C.E.
Exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City today. I’m admiring a second-century C.E. bust of a Roman youth. This isn’t just any youth - it’s a youthful portrait of Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher and Roman emperor.

9.2.06

Aesthetic Thursday: "Agrippa Fecit": The Pantheon of Rome

I bookmark a few facts about the Pantheon in Rome in this post.
Photograph showcasing the impressive exterior front entrance of the Pantheon, a historical architectural masterpiece in Rome, Italy. The iconic facade with its grand columns and pediment can be seen clearly under a bright sky. Photo Credit: Greig Roselli.
View of the Exterior of the Pantheon
Image Credit: Greig Roselli
1. The Pantheon in Rome is an ancient temple built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian between 118 and 125 AD on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa. 
2. It was initially dedicated to all the gods of Ancient Rome, but it has since been used as a Catholic church known as Santa Maria ad Martyres.
3. The building is renowned for its architectural achievement, with a giant dome that covers the entire main chamber and an oculus at its center, which allows natural light to enter the room below it.
4. The Oculus measures approximately 8 meters (27 feet) wide. It allows sunlight into the Pantheon during daytime hours when opened fully - although there are no windows or other means of entering direct light inside otherwise!
5. Inside, you can find many beautiful sculptures, such as statues of major gods from Ancient Greece & Rome, and paintings on marble walls depicting scenes from Roman mythology & history - making this one of the most impressive monuments in Italy!
Video Credit: Ariel Viera
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