The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives

More specifically concerning: museum

23 December 2000 – Rome

23 December 2000, around 19.40.

To the Musei Vaticani in the morning; the streets were deserted and trees cast pale shadows onto the Tiber. Having not the faintest clue of a suitable direction, I wandered vaguely Vaticanwards and found I needn’t have worried: one can’t miss it. Waited in a rather long line for admission, then darted away to see […]

26 December 2000 – Rome

26 December 2000, around 19.44.

Wandered to the Villa Borghese, a rather large park containing such interesting things as the British School at Rome and the Galleria Nazionale d’ Arte Moderna. It being a sunny day, I didn’t much mind getting lost, and wandered past and around the Temple of Faustina with much amusement before finding the Viale delle Belle […]

27 December 2000 – Rome

27 December 2000, around 19.49.

Saw a double herm of Epicurus and Diogenes the Cynic at the Museo Capitolino, which pleased me much in my soul. At the Palazzo dei Conservatori, saw a herm of Alcibiades, which I thought particularly appropriate and a Roman statue of a toga’d man holding a scroll, whose expression was wonderful, though ineffable. Later — […]

15.03.01

15 March 2001, around 14.56.

To see ‘The Genius of Rome: 1592–1623;’ or, in other words, to see paintings by Caravaggio and … some other guys. Then wandered around the city feeling young and disillusioned, everyone and everything seeming uglier and stupider and slower than they should be. Two elderly ladies on the bus into town and St John the […]

18.05.01

18 May 2001, around 18.41.

After the ever-entertaining lecture on the city of Rome – the lecturer condescending to swear at the slide projector, which had a disposition to be willful — went to the Ashmolean. God’s gallery was shut for construction and conservation work, the red walls and the tops of paintings barely visible over a temporary divider; so, […]

Inscriptiones Graecae

14 November 2002, around 16.27.

They took us into the store rooms of the Ashmolean, bright blue metal shelves crammed with funerary monuments, busts of Romans (or Sir Arthur Evans), and sculptures of every sort of absurdity. We are to look at inscriptions. And here we see an inscription from Smyrna; it is quite nice actually—the person carving it was […]

Improbable places (1)

20 November 2002, around 16.34.

The room of Chinese Paintings Ashmolean Museum, 1:26 p.m.

Curio (1)

17 January 2003, around 11.02.

Ivories, Ashmolean. …What makes the man and what The man within that makes: Ask whom he serves or not Serves and what side he takes…. —Gerard Manley Hopkins (‘(On a Piece of Music)’)

Improbable places (3)

14 February 2003, around 9.29.

The Room of PorcelainAshmolean Museum, 11:42 a.m.

It’s Academic

28 February 2003, around 9.33.

And, unrelated: ‘They’re hopelessly vulgar,’ said Mrs. Costello. ‘Whether or no being hopelessly vulgar is being ‘bad’ is a question for the metaphysicians. They’re bad enough to blush for, at any rate; and for this short life that’s quite enough.’ — Henry James, Daisy Miller

the false dichotomy

25 March 2003, around 14.00.

Loot

17 April 2003, around 16.18.

Such dim-conceived glories of the brain Bring round the heart an undescribable feud; So do these wonders a most dizzy pain, That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude Wasting of old Time—with a billowy main— A sun—a shadow of a magnitude. —John Keats (‘On Seeing the Elgin Marbles’) Allow me to sound heartless for a […]

first fruits

30 May 2008, around 11.09.

Offerings to the deity in the University of PennsylvaniaMuseum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Curio (2)

25 September 2008, around 0.01.

a backwards glance

13 April 2009, around 0.27.

The sight of a Greek head depresses many people, strikes an unliberated chord, reminds them of books in their grandmother’s parlor and of all they were supposed to learn and never did. —Joan Didion (‘The Getty’ in The White Album, p. 75)

9 September 2016 – Paris

9 September 2016, around 19.28.

Day 3. Headed west to go to Rodin museum, but spotted the late nineteenth century church of Saint-François-Xavier and stopped to look around. It appeared a suitable, sober, appropriate 19th century church and so, indeed, it proved. The lines were bright and clean, most of the artwork tasteful if mediocre – and I will admit […]

10 September 2016 – Paris

10 September 2016, around 19.30.

Day 4. Headed north and a bit east to the Picasso Museum – a lingering irritability about Rodin making us somewhat hesitant, especially knowing two floors of the museum are currently closed to prepare for a new exhibition. We needn’t have worried. The basement featured an exhibit by Spanish artist Miquel Barceló (one of his […]

19 September 2016 – Paris

19 September 2016, around 19.45.

Day 13. Reached saturation level for museums today. All the busts of Antinous merged at last into the unattainable; the funerary reliefs of society ladies looked at eternity with boredom; the sirens and sphinxes on red figure vases bemused and befuddled and bewildered. In short, it was worth the 45-minute wait in the mizzle. · […]

amused

13 February 2020, around 5.42.

An arbitrary detail from ‘Portrait of the Comte De M.’ by Jérôme-Martin Langlois (1831). Just last Tuesday, I ended up at the art museum, although I hadn’t intended to go. It was after going to the dentist, you see, and my jaw was sore from a filling and the right side of my face was […]

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