DailyArt Magazine is currently publishing a series of articles recommending ways of connecting to art from home. Here are my contributions to this project, which I'm really proud to be part of.
While discussing the difficult questions art restoration poses concerning artworks' original states, noted Leonardo da Vinci scholar Martin Kemp made a great observation about the tricky nature of the "original". It seems obvious when I see it written in front of me, but I can't say I had considered it much before.
The Wadsworth Athenaeum, in Hartford, CT, is one of America's oldest art museums. It was founded by Daniel Wadsworth in 1842. However, it has been expanded several times since them. The museum has a little bit of everything, from paintings to porcelain, ancient Egyptian to contemporary European. It's a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon.
For those of you new to the art-viewing, museum-going experience, do you feel unsure what to see first? If so, I can make a few suggestions. I've come up with three areas that I think are particularly accessible and enjoyable to new viewers. You'll find them in most major museums, and they also happen to be among my favorites.
For anyone who's ever felt frustrated or unsure in an art museum, here are a few strategies to make museum visits more enjoyable and fulfilling.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is located in Richmond, Virginia. Its highlights include the McGlothlin collection of American art, the Gans collection of English silver, and works by Faberge.
Want to enjoy great architecture from your couch? I recently discovered a host of virtual tours of famous works of architecture. How cool is that? While you can never truly experience a place from a computer screen, it's nice to have the option when travelling to the site in person isn't in your schedule (or budget). All of the tours listed are 360° experiences, not just pictures.
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is a small art museum on the campus of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The museum contains a little bit of everything, but its claim to fame is probably its many Hudson River School paintings. The rest of the collection ranges from ancient to contemporary works in small quantities.
The Cloisters is a museum of medieval art, but I think it's more than that. To me, it's also a sort of medieval fantasy land (in a good way). The museum building is neo-medieval structure that incorporates genuine pieces of Romanesque and Gothic architecture within it. Spending time there is a little like being transported to another time and place.
It's easy to assume that you know what you're going to enjoy and only look at that, passing by other artworks without paying much attention. It's all too easy to pre-screen your experience, even if you don't mean to, but I would suggest trying to keep an open mind. You may find a new favorite where you least expect it.