Posts Tagged ‘museum’

Paris Museums: L’Orangerie

Monet Water Lilies

Sunday, we met up with Evan’s grandparents, who were also visiting Paris for the weekend, and went to the Orangerie to see its small collection of art. The most impressive thing there was two large oval rooms with Monet’s Water Lilies on the walls. The rooms were filled with diffuse natural light that came in through the glass roof and was filtered through white fabric.

The rest of the collection didn’t appeal to me all that much.

Monet Water Lilies, Orangerie

The Louvre: The Biggest Museum I have Ever Seen

The Louvre, Paris

From the tip end of Ile de la Cite, while crossing Pont Neuf, I saw a seemingly endless structure. It looked like a palace, stretching on as far as I could see down the Seine. When we finally came up to the back of the building, I was speechless for a moment. This thing is monumental! The columns, the sculptures, the windows, the architectural details — I didn’t know where to look first.

The Louvre, ParisWe entered through the archway in from of Pont des Arts, looking back on an amazing view at L’Institute des Arts, another beautiful, domed building, and entered a large courtyard where we were surrounded on all sides by very symmetrical, yet ornate stone walls.

We took a left turn toward the next archway, and emerged into the main courtyard of the Louvre, with I.M. Pei’s glass pyramids. There wasn’t any water in the reflecting pools, but it was still an impressive sight, and the classical palace walls were reflected on the faces of the pyramid.

The Louvre then stretches beyond the main courtyard where it even has roads going through its columns — I couldn’t believe the buses fit through them!

The Louvre, ParisSunday, we went in to the museum, and took a whirlwind tour of its top attractions. We saw the Mona Lisa, which really does seem to change depending on which angle you’re looking from, Venus de Milo and other classic pieces of art. One of my favorite exhibits we saw, though, was the Medieval Louvre, where¬† we got to walk through original sections of the fortress that stood on the site.

Inside the Louvre, I also saw an amazing elevator/lift — it was open on top, and was a giant round column than pushed out of the ground and everything on it upwards through the center of a spiraling staircase. I’d never seen anything like it. And the pyramid makes the main entrance nice and airy.

Sunday Afternoon at the British Museum

Sunday, Evan and I spent the afternoon starting to explore the British Museum. We pretty well conquered the first floor, and we’ll be back to check out the other areas soon, I’m sure.

First stop was the Rosetta Stone, which was quite impressive and always had a crowd around it. The we wandered among Egyptian artifacts, causing me to often ask, how did they get that here? Truly, the size and scope of the collection is pretty amazing. Though it also leads to the question, how did they get it here without someone from the original country intervening? Really, you’d think someone would notice their immense national treasures being exported. Apparently only recently countries have started to try and reclaim their historical goods, though I don’t think there’s too much movement there.

After the Egypt rooms, we went to see statues, urns, plates and jewelry from ancient Greece. The gold jewelry was really amazing. I really enjoyed checking out their coins, too. From there, we proceeded to a room with a reconstruction of a large tomb that looked like a temple, and on to pieces of the Parthenon, which seemed to be a lot of stone carving of naked men and horses or some hybrid of the two.

We stopped for tea at the museum restaurant, which is actually a Do & Co., which was a pleasant surprise. It’s upstairs in a neat lofty area in the center of the large covered entryway courtyard. It was quite elegant, with white tablecloths and a sort of white tent/sun shield above, so we were a bit surprised when they gave us a table slightly outside the short wall around the dining area. We felt a bit like the riff-raff, but our green tea, spring rolls and egg custard puffs were a nice break in our visit.

Once we were done with tea, it was almost time for the museum to close, so we checked out one last exhibit on the main floor — one about life and death. The exhibit brought together ceremonial items from indigenous cultures all over the world, bringing together colorful masks, statues, headdresses and robes and well as smaller items like tarot cards together in large display cases you could walk all the way around.

The centerpiece of the exhibit, though, was my favorite part: It was a sort of quilt woven together with pockets to include all the pills a person had taken in a lifetime. One side represented a man, the other a woman, and there were all sorts of medications there, from indigestions meds to nicotine patches to birth control pills and simple aspirins. It was striking to think about, and the quilts, which had markings for the age of the person, stretch most of the length of the large gallery. They were also accompanied by photos of life moments with captions. I believe I read that people are estimated to take about 14,000 pills over their lifetime in the UK. It was striking.

Statue Park

Budapest Statue Park

Sunday, Evan and I went to Statue Park, a short drive from Budapest, to see soviet-era statues that were moved from the city center to the countryside. Though the park was smaller than we expected and sort of strangely organized–we were under the impression that it was just a bunch of statues strewn about a field, though it’s actually a dozen or so statues organized in a sort of ringed garden–it made for an interesting afternoon outing, even on a cold and gloomy day. Also, most statues aren’t as big as the ones in the photos–those are the most striking ones.

One interesting statue that didn’t actually photograph very well (sorry) was Stalin’s boots. It used to be all of Stalin, but it was torn down from the knees up in a revolution.

Budapest Statue Park

I’ll link to the rest of the photos when Evan gets the gallery up on his site. OK, they’re up now. See them here.

Day Trip to Szentendre

Szentendre Christmas Market

Saturday, Evan and I took a short day trip to Szentendre, a town about 20 minutes outside of Budapest that’s known for being a cute, touristy artist colony on the bank of the Danube. After parking, we just started wandering into the small town, and we heard music and some pretty awful singing coming from the town square. We decided to skip the first part of the show and go to the Margit Kovacs Ceramics Museum, which had a nice collection of the artist’s work.

Once we were done with the museum, we went back out to the main square and found a group of schoolkids performing a cute little song and dance. We lost interest by the time a group of older students started dancing, and decided to check out the music box museum, which ended up being really interesting.

The small museum, tucked away in the back of a souvenir shop, was quite delightful. They had a host of old music-playing gadgets, including orchestrations, a clockwork bird, old gramophones and other sound machines. We even got to hear a number of them and got to turn the cranks ourselves on a few. Some dated back 200 years yet sounded remarkably good. Others didn’t sound as great because the humidity was low.

Szentendre Christmas Market kurtos kolacs

Next we went on to the Christmas market, which wasn’t crowded and had some interesting foods and crafts. We tried out kurtos kolacs, which is essentially fire-roasted coil of dough cooked on a wooden dowel and rolled in sugar, and found our new favorite Hungarian treat. Look at me just drooling over it. It was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, and it stayed hot the whole time we were eating it (which really wasn’t very long).

Szentendre Christmas Market kurtos kolacs

Also, in the Christmas market, there were many people walking around with their children and handing out homemade baked goods on trays. We got some cheese bread, which was good, and the whole thing just seemed like a really nice tradition. I believe it was the festival of St. Nicholas.

We tried to take a look at some more museums and churches in Szentendre, but they weren’t open very late, but I did manage to take a great photo of a boat on the Danube before I left.

Boat on Danube

Check out the rest of our Szentendre photos on Evan’s site.

Vienna Museums: Albertina and Haus der Musik

Sunday, we decided to visit some of Vienna’s amazing museums. It was hard to narrow down our choices since there were many amazing options, but we decided on the Albertina art museum, which was holding an exhibit featuring works from Picasso, Kandinsky, Monet, Miro, Rothko, Matisse, Chagall and more. The most amazing thing about the collection is that most of it is owned by one family–the Batliners.

There were also really interesting and informative descriptions about the artwork and how one style transitioned into the next.

We also visited their exhibition of contemporary art, which had some amazing pieces as well.

After a few great hours at the Albertina, we went to a completely different kind of museum–Haus der Musik.

Haus der Musik is all about music and sound and features lots of interactive exhibits that are fun and informational. Evan and I created a waltz with a game that picked musical phrases from a roll of dice. We played with touchscreen exhibits that played auditory tricks on us. We listened to a variety of different sounds–that’s what I’m doing in the picture. And we played with mixing our voices, recording sounds and playing digital instruments that made noises when we moved. One of the most fun parts of the exhibit was a game where we got to conduct a symphony orchestra, standing in front of a big screen with our baton, and the orchestra would speed up and slow down with the movements we’d make. The players would also heckle us in German if we were doing a bad job.

There was also a piano in the lobby and Evan was thrilled to get to play–it’s been six months since he’d been able to. I sat and listened and sketched. I didn’t feel up to playing… I’m way too out of practice. The museum was a lot of fun, though, and very different from other exhibits I’d been to. Also, it wasn’t crowded at all–we saw maybe five other guests, and we got to take all the time we wanted on the exhibits. It’s also open until 10 p.m., and though we didn’t stay that late, it was nice not to feel rushed.

Haus der Musik, Vienna

Evan Playing Piano, Haus der Musik, Vienna

The Budapest Art Fair

Budapest Art FairSaturday, after our big lunch at Klassz, Evan and I went to the Budapest Art Fair at Heroes’ Square in City Park. Actually, it was in the exhibition gallery across from the art museum and in a large tented addition to the gallery.

The fair had a wide range of pieces and styles, from antiques and sculptures and more classical paintings to contemporary pieces by artists who were sitting by their exhibitions. It makes me want to start painting more again. I kept looking at all the artwork, thinking, I could do something like that. It also makes me want to have a home with really large walls someday.

There was also a neat antique book section that had some great framed pages, and I’d like to find an antique bookstore and find something fun to frame.

There were also some neat cars on display. The show was sponsored by Audi and there was a very sporty car in the tent–only about $175,000!