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Archive for the ‘On the Road’ Category

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… and that is what I feel Anulfo Baez of The Evolving Critic has done with #MuseumswithAnulfo, his commitment to bring … or in my case drag … friends to museums, to catch up, to take respite from the chaos of these times, to see and experience the beauty created in the past and in the present. In my case, I was delighted that Anulfo introduced me to the newly expanded McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College. He pushed me over the edge when he mentioned the museum has a LaFarge window. It’s the first thing you see as you make your entrance.

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Of course the piece has a story. It’s an 1889 triptych designed by John LaFarge for the All Souls Unitarian Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts. In the 1920s the church was sold to another denomination and the original donors asked that the window be given to another Unitarian church located in Amherst. In 2013 that church decided to sell the windows in part as part of a planned expansion of the building. The McMullen Museum with the aid of alum William Vareika was able to purchase the windows. Serpentino Stained Glass which restored the window before its installation at Boston College has a great page describing the window’s structure and their restoration efforts.

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Of the three figures – St. John, Christ Preaching and St. Paul, LaFarge’s rendering of Paul held my attention most but the whole of course is a masterpiece.

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Anulfo, who @evolvingcritic describes himself as a “Self-proclaimed nerd into art, architecture, design, culture and sneakers,” discussed the fact that LaFarge was well known for his experimentation. He understood the science behind the materials he used, whether paint or glass, and how to create the painterly effects he desired.

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One thing you always hear about LaFarge is that he painted the head, hands and feet. While the window was undoubtedly meant to be up high on a wall, it is a delight to be able to walk right up to the window in its specially lit display case and see LaFarge’s work up close.

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Thanks to Anulfo for making this visit happen!

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Learn more …

McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College

http://www.serpentinostainedglass.com/Serpentino_Stained_Glass/John_La_Farge_at_McMullen_Museum.html

 

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I stepped into another church again. This one also sat in the middle of Dublin’s city centre, this time on Clarendon Street. The website describes St. Teresa’s as a quiet oasis of prayer and that was certainly true. On the streets, people were rushing about but once inside, there was utter quiet.

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People entered and wandered into particular chapels to light candles, pray. Perhaps to simply sit and be.

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I wandered …

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… just enough to “discover” the stained glass.

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I didn’t wander long but I didn’t need to in order to see the beauty of the place.

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I could find no literature on the tables about the building’s art and architecture.

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An eclectic mix of styles accrued over time as tastes vary.

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Whatever one’s desire, for prayer, for quiet, to view beautiful art, it is a lovely place for a respite.  More about St. Teresa’s on Clarendon Street, Dublin can be found via this link:  http://clarendonstreet.com/

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It was about 3 miles there by foot, and three miles back, and that’s excluding the times I got lost and had to retrace my steps but it was well worth the visit that had been encouraged by my host.

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Glasnevin Cemetery is not old by European standards, having first opened in the early 1800s, but it is significant as a burial place for so many people who were key figures in shaping modern Ireland’s history and culture. It remains an active burial place open to people of all and no religions.

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It reminded me of Boston’s Forest Hills and Mount Auburn Cemeteries, with their beautiful and poignant statuary, and a similar commitment to provide current generations access to the history and legacies of those buried through lively tours, books and other media.

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My time was limited but I was able to shadow a tour long enough to realize that if I am able to return one day I will schedule time to take the formal tour with one of the knowledgeable guides and then visit the neighboring Botanical Gardens.

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Though I chose to walk, public transportation is available.  You can learn more about the cemetery, its museum, genealogical services and more via this link:  https://www.glasnevinmuseum.ie/

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Between the coastal waters, the River Liffey and all the various bodies of water to be found in green places like St. Stephen’s Green, birds are to be found everywhere, and most wonderfully so … though local folks do mention that there may be a problem with seagulls in the city. I recognized a few … the mallards, the herons, the gulls, the swans, and the lovely, loud magpies.

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The most surprising capture was walking the trails of the University College Dublin-Belfield campus, getting lost, crossing a bridge, peering through some branches at a stream below and seeing this …

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You have only to do an online search for “street art” and “dublin” to discover the backstory as well as the ongoing evolution of graffiti arts in Dublin, Ireland. One of my favorite quick reads was this 2014 article: https://untappedcities.com/2014/02/24/the-evolution-of-dublins-street-art-scene/dublinstreetart2

Even on the cloudiest days, art brightens the city. I expect that one could orchestrate a whole tour of the city focused on street art and the artists who produce the very diverse works. It can be found up high …

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and down low …

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there’s the fun …

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and the poignant.

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There appeared to be few limits on presentation given this sculptural figure on a wall.

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More so than any other city I’ve been in, Dublin with its art everywhere made me want to put away my phone and to truly look around me. You never knew what you might see.

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It will take awhile for me to download all of the pictures taken during this road trip once more to Dublin, Ireland but one image that I do want to share is of these trees painted on the restaurant window of di luca wines & trattoria. A local artist works with the restaurant to change the window scene. After I am gone the window will become more winter themed though these white trees do remind me of winter. We were lucky enough to get a table at this restaurant. Food was great and the people, both staff and other diners, were wonderful. If you have chance, do visit: https://www.diluca.ie/

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To see the painting of the girl and her dog up close, a painting rather different than so many of Gainsborough’s other portraits … very moving.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Gainsborough

 

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