Sunday, September 16, 2012

Worcester Museum of Art: Medieval Collection

12-century French limestone capital:
monsters eating humans (SJH)
It's been quiet around these parts lately--most likely due to the looming and starting of semesters. So I'll reward readers with a post mainly composed around pictures. This weekend my parents visited me & my wife in Connecticut, so we took them to the Worcester Museum of Art. Of course, despite having lived here for five years now, I've never been to this museum; the opportunity seemed like a good one to take. I was pretty happy with the museum's collection, which balances different temporalities and geographies well. Since we only had an afternoon, we mainly focused on the ancient Greco-Roman and medieval exhibits, with a few forays into the ancient Egyptian & decorative arts exhibits (the latter to see a work by impressionist Mary Cassatt, my mother's favorite artist). Here's a bit of a photo-montage of the highlights from the medieval collection.*

The Apostle John at the Crucifixion
Spanish, 13th century (BWH)
I was especially struck by his contemplative, mournful expression.

 The highlight of the visit was the twelfth-century French monastic chapter house (1150-60 and 1180-90) that they have installed into the museum (more information may be found on the museum's website, here). The chapter house was disassembled, transported to America, and reconstructed in 1927; the museum is currently in the process of restoring and preserving the chapter house for the long term.


My wife, Judy, silently screaming through the archway of the chapter house,
with the glow of a stained glass window behind her (BWH)

Faces eating the archways (BWH)

I was so excited about the museum exhibits that I was photo-taking,
tweeting, and researching--all while unknowingly being watched over (SJH)
I also became particularly fascinated by this terra cotta, sixteenth-century Paduan statue of an "unknown apostle" by the Italian sculptor Antonio Minelli. I found the attention to the book--by both the sculptor and this reader--especially striking.


The Ascension of Christ, 12th century (BWH)
I especially appreciated that the apostles (allon the bottom, all looking up)
are individually labelled, each pointing to his own name written above.
* All photographs are by me (noted as BWH) and Susan J. Hawk (noted as SJH).

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