More specifically concerning: museum
23 December 2000 – Rome
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
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
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 — […]
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 […]
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, […]
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)
the room of Chinese paintings.
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)
the porcelain room.
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
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 […]
Offerings to the deity in the University of PennsylvaniaMuseum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
a backwards glance
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)
Improbable places (5)
the room of characters.
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 […]