May 18 has been International Museum Day for 35 years! It is a great way of increasing public awareness of their role in society. Therefore it is important to know that this year’s theme is: Museums in a Changing World: New challenges, New inspirations.
As the main idea of my blog is to introduce my students to English-speaking cultures, I decided to search my photo album to look for some photos taken during my visit to museums (of art, because they are my favourite) in the Americas. Since one of the New York museums I find more interesting - The Frick Collection - doesn´t allow photos to be taken, I can´t include it. Yet there are other great museums in the Big Apple.
Van Gogh. Starry Night. Moma
Duccio di Buoninsegna. Madonna and Child. Met
I still recall my enthusiasm when I saw “Starry Night” by Van Gogh for the first time in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA,New York) or when I watched “Madonna and Child” by the early Renaissance master Duccio di Buoninsegna in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met). In fact this painting was purchased in 2004 and was the biggest purchase Met had ever made. At the time Met paid more than 45 million dollars!
As for other museums in that big city, the Guggenheim Museum of Art owns one of the most beautiful works of Braque I know.
When we talk of art in the USA, New York can’t be given all the credit. We mustn’t forget the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, or the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the former house of an eccentric millionaire woman.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
In the Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of the biggest museums in USA I made acquaintance with a painter who was born in Portugal: Manuel Joachim de França (1808-1865)
Manuel Joachim de França. Portrait of Matthew Huizinga Messchert.
Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) The Rock of Hautepierre. c. 1869.
In Chicago I was very much impressed with the Art Institute of Chicago with its huge collection of European painters.
Tom Thomson. In the northland.
In Canada I was overwhelmed with the Musée des Beaux-Arts Montréal, where I found the beautiful painting by Tom Thomson, who influenced the Group of Seven, a late impressionism movement that revolutionized art in that country. (read ART IN CANADA in my blog.)
If you really want to know a city well you have to visit its museums! Despite being excellent sources of knowledge, they can also be a lot more. For instance, one can always have a pleasant stroll along a Museum’s exciting galleries. Moreover, although I love art, other exhibition halls can also show amazing things, such as dinosaur fossils or scientific innovations. So, when entering a Museum we are not just learning; we are also indulging in the culture of a city/town, relaxing, looking bemusedly at what most fascinates us and recalling details which we might have accidentally put out of our mind in our busy day-to-day lives!
Paul Newman and I at Madame Tussaud´s, New York