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Travel in the Time of Corona, Week 6

For Week 6 of shelter-in-place, I wanted to revisit some museums around the world and reminisce about the good old travel days through images of my favorite paintings. Travel is a deep well of learning experiences and visits to museums add color to these experiences. Photographs, videos or postcards are beautiful keepsakes we can browse over whenever we please. This time spent in isolation has given me the pause I needed to appreciate the places I’ve been and the masterpieces I had the pleasure to behold.

Las Meninas, Diego Velasquez, 1656, Museo del Prado, Madrid
The French Impressionist painter, Édouard Manet, called Velasquez a “painter of painters”. It isn’t hard to imagine why. Velasquez challenges and provokes the viewer to dig deeper than what the eye perceives at first glance, to never judge a book by its cover.

Liberty Leading the People, Eugène Delacroix, 1830, Louvre Museum, Paris
“I have undertaken a modern subject, a barricade, and although I may not have fought for my country, at least I shall have painted for her.  It has restored my good spirits.” Eugène Delacroix from a letter written to his brother dated October 28, 1830

Arnolfini Portrait, Jan Van Eyck, 1434, National Gallery, London
From the fur lined coat of the man to the voluminous folds of the woman’s robe trimmed with white ermine and her lacy veil to the rug on the floor and the red drapery in the background, this double portrait of an Italian merchant and his wife intimates wealth. And, is that the painter and his assistant we see in the mirror on the back wall?

Flaming June, Frederic Leighton, 1895, Museo de Ponce, Puerto Rico
Ponce is a city on the southern coast of Puerto Rico with an amazing museum of art and Flaming June is certainly the highlight of its collection. How this masterpiece of Victorian art got to Ponce is a riveting story of lost and found and the bargain price at which it was acquired by a Latin American industrialist, Luis Ferré, who founded the Museo de Ponce.

Les Raboteurs de Parquet, Gustave Caillebotte, 1875, Musée d’Orsay, Paris
The Floor Scrapers was shunned at the Salon of 1875 in Paris. The jurors were shocked by the half clothed working class subjects and found the painting “vulgar”. But what’s interesting about this work of art is its perspective. The viewer is looking down at the floor scrapers. Observe the other masterpieces in this group and you’ll know what I mean. 

The Jewish Bride, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1665-1669, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
(Also known as The Portrait of the Couple Isaac and Rebecca)
Whenever I see this painting, I’m drawn to the expressive face of the bride. She intrigues me with that quivering look. I’d like to know what’s on her mind, how she feels and what her life was like. 

Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889, MOMA, New York
“For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me want to dream.” Van Gogh 

Let’s keep our dreams alive, especially during this strange and trying period in our lives!

*****

The images here are under Public Domain and can be found in Wiki Commons.

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