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… the McMullen Musem of Art has three concurrent displays on exhibit this fall through December 10th. Detailed information can be found in this museum press release. What I especially appreciated about the museum itself is its overall architecture that bridges old and new architectural styles and which takes into account the natural landscape as being part of the visitor experience. The floor to ceiling glass walls on each floor present an airy feeling … and that’s before you even realize that there is an amazing roof top deck.

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Given that two of the three exhibits focus on nature, landscape, realism and symbolism, it inspired childish delight to walk up the stairs with clear glass all around, seeing the landscape outside, and then to walk into beautifully curated exhibits like that of Alston Conley’s New England Sky …

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… and that of Nature’s Mirror: Reality and Symbol in Belgian Landscape.

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And in the midst of so much landscape there was the unexpected appearance of man, in this case, The Old Man Blessing, by Belgian painter Leon Frederic.

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The area accessed by the public to view art is actually not that large but comes across as quite spacious. Technology, whether a video showing the Belgian landscape of today on the wall, or a tablet with additional stories about the artists of the period, accentuate the visitor experience.

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Again, I thank Anulfo Baez for introducing me to this new phase of the McMullen Museum and I look forward to future visits.

Sources and Additional Reading (and Viewing!)

http://www.bc.edu/sites/artmuseum/press/fall-2017.html

http://www.bc.edu/sites/artmuseum/exhibitions/conley/

http://bcheights.com/2017/09/10/mcmullen-hones-natures-mirror-belgian-landscapes/

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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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