´¯`•. January 06, 2017

Toledo Adventure: Museum of Art

“Travel brings wisdom only to the wise. It renders the ignorant
more ignorant than ever.”  
― Joe Abercrombie, Last Argument of Kings

I’ve been to many museums in my life.  In London, particularly, but a few others, as well.  But I never went into a museum having studied artists and their prints before.  The past two years, the kids and I have been working our way through ‘52 pieces of art that every child should know‘.  I print the picture out, and then go to wikipedia and condense the information on art/artist down to a one or two page spread, and we learn about them.  It’s been absolutely fascinating, and yes – I’ve added other artists, as well (we did Norman Rockwell over Thanksgiving, Currier and Ives for X-mess, and Charles M. Schultz, so far).

What was awesome was going to the Toledo Museum of Art and seeing the REAL paintings.  Paintings that were in our study, for example (the ‘Oath of the Horatii’ is there, and a statue very much like ‘Augustus of Primaporta’).  The kids were beside themselves, telling Brian about the artwork, and the stories behind the people in them.  The guys standing around in suits (guards? watchmen?) were impressed, too!

I don’t have room for all of the artists’ works, here.  There was Monet, Manet, Whistler, Matisse, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, John Singer Sargeant, Jean-Francois Millet, Bruegel the Elder, Barbieri, Rembrandt, and more.  And I wish we lived closer – that we could go and just do one gallery a week, for an hour at a time.  It was just SO much… and all free.

img_0274-494x555This was the ‘main visiting exhibit’.  In that space, it was huge and vibrant and breathtaking.  It didn’t fit the mood of that room, but it was still astounding, when you came in and clapped eyes on it.  Like a little of heaven dancing around the gallery.

img_0262-446x555Our first *live* piece of art was Paul Cezanne.
I like this much better than “Where have we been, where are we going”.

img_0264-555x400Our second piece.  A painting by Vincent vanGogh.  We were all breathless.  I had NO idea he was so heavy-handed a painter.  It was thick and stood off the canvas.  (My art professor friend Carolyn says some of his paintings have marks from being leaned together, if you look for them!)

img_0271-555x460Gustav Doré.  This one took MY breath away.  First, because it’s Doré… most of the art I use for our Book of Centuries is from Doré.  I have a large antique print book of his Old Testament pictures.  He’s always been a favorite of mine.  And here he’s painting the Scottish Highlands… the place I loved to visit more than anywhere on Earth.  So this was *perfect*!

img_0272-555x411Degas’ pastel, entitled ‘The Dancers’.  It’s all done with chalk – you can see the lines and streaks and paper showing through.  It was amazing… even the way he used blue-purple to do all the shadowing!

img_0277-555x513The size and scope of some of these art prints were amazing.  A few (like this one) had papers to tell you about the artwork, but most didn’t have much.  And we only had two hours… not enough time to read everything, anyhow, sadly!

img_0281-555x452This man was amazing.  There were men standing around, watching everyone and everything all around the museum, but this was the only man who engaged us.  Probably because we were so consumed with what we were seeing, talking about related works that we knew, and the stories and people.  He had a lot to share – we loved having him with us, for a few of the rooms!

img_0282-555x400Jean-Baptiste Corot.  Do you remember when I did a tutorial on this site on how to watercolor, and I did the ‘Bridges of Nantes’ as the example to try to paint?  That was Corot.  THIS is a real Corot.  I squealed.  No, really.

img_0293-555x352This is the ‘Oath of the Horatii’, from our art lessons.  Look at how everyone is just so captivated by it, as Isaac tells Daddy the story about the men and their wives.

img_0305-444x266This is a Homer.  We were stunned by the colors – looking at an image of it, and going and seeing the colors fold in over each other… it’s a totally different thing!  This was Lydia’s favorite.

img_0307-555x296The museum was founded by Libbey (of Toledo’s Libbey Glass).  This is a display of some of the early Libbey glass.  It looks *NOTHING * like this, anymore, sadly.  But wOw, isn’t that beautiful?

img_0311-440x555Velasquez.  It’s amazing how some people’s art is just so easy to pick out.

img_0312-432x555Jean-Honoré Fraggonard is anothe rone like that.  We studied his ‘The Swing’, which could almost be a companion piece to this, ‘Blind Man’s Bluff’.  So fun, to see it for ourselves!  We knew who it was without even looking at the placard.  It raised a few watchmen’s brows, our gasps and exclamations.

img_0313-555x416My favorite painting.  I don’t know who it’s by or what it’s called now, unfortunately.  But when you’re in front of it, the whole painting is dark and misty and overcast, and then the sun shines on just that one sail, and it’s… brilliant.  Like it’s coming off the canvas.

img_0315-555x416The chapel is another ‘gallery’ in the museum, done like an Italian courtyard.  It’s like stepping in another world, entirely.  The watch(wo)man in this room turned the lights down, so we could experience it at twilight, too. It was amazing, and every column was carved in a different way.img_0316-454x555Not the Ghent Altarpiece, but a similar one (the two side panels are next to it).

img_0320-555x416Another temporary exhibit was the Libbey doll collection.  Our friendly watchman came in with us, and told us that there were two dolls that were wrong – they shouldn’t have heads.  I found Marie Antoinette, right away, but he had to help us find Mary, Queen of Scots.  Do you see her?  (Lower center in black)

img_0327-555x416And it wasn’t just paintings.  There was a Rodin sculpture, a tankard that had been forged by Paul Revere (!!), several marble busts like something out of ‘Pride and Prejudice’s Pemberly gallery, and then there were the antiquities rooms.  Take a LOOK at this!!

 img_0323-333x250 img_0326-193x333
There were pieces from ancient Egypt, Phonecia, Greece, Rome…

img_0329-416x555Not exactly ‘Augustus of Primaporta’, but durn close!

img_0300-394x444 img_0301-250x333
There was also ancient Japanese, Indian, Chinese, and Korean art.

img_0322-250x333 img_0339-419x444
And of course a modern art gallery.  We’re not fans, let alone connosieurs.

We really need a lot more time to spend, there… but on another day.  Two hours, and your every sense is completely overwhelmed.  It’s just so much.  I envy the people of Toledo, who can go and see this over and over again.

And just as we were leaving, our friendly watchman tapped us on the shoulder.  “You can’t miss the theatre.  Right through those doors,”  he told us.    So we pushed through brass plated doors into a hushed area, and experienced this:

Definitely an experience we’ll never forget!


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