New Year’s Day is for taking down the Christmas Tree, lying around recovering from the night before, and making lists of things to do and see for the New Year. I have quite literally been in bed since Christmas with the most dreadful flu/cold I’ve ever had, so I’m still too weak to take down my tree and I spent last night sleeping (blissfully, for the first time in a week) so there is no need to recover from excessive food and/or drink. So I’m all about looking forward today…and taking baby steps out of bed. Like every New Year, I have lots of personal hopes and goals for this year, some of which (hopefully the majority) will be attained and some of which will not, but this is a less soul-seaching list of happenings I’d simply like to see in the coming year. After this past week, this relatively passive agenda is about all I can manage!
1 &2. Dutch Treats. Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, through January 18) and Asia in Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Golden Age (Peabody Essex Museum, February 27-June 5).
The MFA show is consistently described as “groundbreaking” and I’ve been meaning to see it for months, but now I only have a few weeks to attain this goal! I am imagining that it would be somewhat complementary with the upcoming PEM exhibition: two sides of the Dutch Golden Age. But regardless of themes, it’s always a treat to see assemblages of Dutch art from this amazing era.
Job Berckheyde, The Baker, about 1681, Worcester Art Museum, from the Class Distinctions exhibition, MFA, Boston; Jan van der Heyden. Room Corner with Rarities, 1712, Szépmûvészeti Múzeum, Budapest, from the Asia in Amsterdam exhibition, Rijkmuseum and Peabody Essex Museum, Salem. Look at that Armadillo!
This is the first major exhibition of cyanotypes, photographs made with a technique invented by John Herschel in 1842 which involves treating paper with an iron-salt solution under the sun, producing a distinctive Prussian blue tonality. Cyanotypes were very popular in the nineteenth century, but the genre survives today and the exhibition encompasses both past and present.
Anna Atkins cyanotype from the Worcester Art Museum’s upcoming exhibition, Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period.
This exhibit was organized by curators at the St. Louis Art Museum and incorporates several Harvard prints of Bosch, who is always fascinating. And more so than paintings, prints are a window into whatever age produces them, and I’m always looking for Renaissance perspectives.
Hieronymus Bosch, “Patience” print, from the St. Louis/Harvard exhibition, Beyond Bosch.
I’m going to be in London in March, and while much of my time will be in the streets and with students, I’m going to break away for a few exhibitions, including Botticelli Reimagined at the Victoria and Albert Museum. I’m just as fascinated by the impact of the past on the present–particularly the “enduring impact” of creative forces that are both individual and “traditional”–as I am in the past, period, so this is right up my alley.
10. Christmas in Newport. I miss the apparently-stunning Christmas decorations in the mansions of Newport every year and am determined to see them next (this) year!