MY WEEKEND CALENDAR FOR SATURDAY/SUNDAY, DAYS 334 AND 335 OF 2013: And when I logged on to WORLD PRESS today, I discovered I’m celebrating my third anniversary writing about my rather uneventful life here in the Wicket City. I failed to write an entry here yesterday, and I spent the day loafing around the house with Mlle. Renee in my pajamas. Mlle. Renee wasn’t wearing my PJs, I was.
Today the temps got up into the 60s and I decided that the day called for a walk in Forest Park. I planned on walking through the Kennedy Forest, but I went to the Art Museum instead. I took photos of the three bas-relief panels over the front entrance of the museum, but only the third one was fit for displaying.
I’ll reshoot the other two another time. Still haven’t discovered when or why the panels were cut in half. Inside the museum I climbed up to the front balcony to shoot the Grand Sculpture Hall from the same position as the original 1904 photograph.
And if you’ve got a real keen eye, you should be able to see this piece of sculpture hidden in the photo from 1904.
Harriet Hosmer was one of the first female sculptors in the United States. You can read the DESCRIPTION CARD by clicking twice on the photo to enlarge it.
I also checked out my favorite cat at the Museum.
It’s a carved wood CAT by Calder who is a little more famous for his mobiles.
And a couple of fighting roosters.
Then I went home to play with Renee in the backyard.
MY DAILY CALENDAR FOR TUESDAY, DAY 316 OF 2013: And in case no one has mentioned it to you, Day 316 just happens to be 11-12-13 in calendar shorthand. I don’t know if this calendrical coincidence is a lucky or an ill omen … but I’m not getting married today. Note: this calendrical coincidence will only happen one more time in this century on 12-13-14. I wonder how many babies born today will be named Thirteen?
Which yields one completed tulip …
So, what happened to the forecasted snow? While it did start coming down as flakes and flurries last night, it melted on making contact with the ground. Also in some spots the melted moisture turned into invisible black ice. One of these spots happened to be the floor boards on my deck, where I started to slip … caught myself and semi-twisted my ankle. OK, so call me a klutz …but I’m only slightly gimping around now. [NOTE: Mlle. Renee also slipped on the slick spot.]
A BLAST FROM THE PAST: The Grand Sculpture Hall Of The Palace Of Art
This is what the building, which is now the Saint Louis Museum Of Art, looked like in 1904 when it was the only permanent building constructed for the Louisiana Purchase exhibition/Saint Louis World’s Fair of 1904. Kind of cluttered, isn’t it? But that was the way art was displayed back then.
Notice that the original floors were poured concrete and the ceiling and archways were exposed decorative brickwork. A marble floor was laid in one of several restorations and updates and the exposed bricks covered.
The Sculpture Hall today. Thankfully more people.
And sat on the edge of my seat watching the most dramatic version of TOSCA I have ever seen. Now I’ve seen Tosca three times. I saw it about 30 years ago … at the MET. My only visit to the MET. And I was dazzled just by being at the Met, even though I was sitting in the last row of the main floor. The second time I saw it was 2009 when it opened the Met Live in HD season as a new production. I really wasn’t impressed with the performances though and the scenery was boring. Today, was an entirely difference experience. The production today was the same as 2009, but it starred Patricia Racette and Robert Alagna both of whom could act and sing. What a difference! I didn’t even notice the scenery this time.
OPERA TRIVIA: The opera Tosca actually is set on a historical date. 14 June 1800 It was the date that Napoleon was victorious in his Italian campaign at Morengo. It’s mentioned in the opera’s libretto.
SPECIAL SATURDAY STREET ART PHOTO:
ANSWER PLEASE: Remember when I posted this photo a couple of weeks ago and called it CAGED BALLS because I failed to read the informative copy panel posted next to it? Well, here’s all the facts, just the facts.
Cell (Three White Marble Spheres)
1993 Louise Bourgeois American (born France), 1911–2010 (steel, glass, marble, and mirror)
References to the human body and to the individual’s role in family and society are constants in the work of Louise Bourgeois. This sculpture is made up of three stone balls enclosed in a structure of steel, glass, and mesh that can be read as a box, a domicile, or a prison. The two larger spheres resting close to the smaller one evoke the interrelationships of a family in a manner that may be interpreted as either protective or domineering. The smooth surface of the marble spheres contrasts with the shattered and rusty remains of their enclosure. The open door suggests potential escape from the damaged and claustrophobic cube, but that very possibility is counterbalanced by the presence of a security mirror suspended from the ceiling of the box. Change may be possible in this scenario, but constant surveillance will make it difficult.
Maybe that was too much information?
One of the advantages of having more gallery space available in the Saint Louis Art Museum’s historic 1904 original building is the ability to use multi-directional lighting to dramatically illuminate the sculpture pieces.
This Reclining Pan was carved in the early 16th century from a reused marble fragment that had been part of a larger relief work from the Roman Imperial period. Some of the details from the earlier artist’s work can be seen on the back of the sculpture. (Which I forgot to photograph.)
This new sculpture piece always gives me pause whenever I walk into the museum. I call it Busted Balls, but one of these times I going to have to stop and read the story behind it.
MY DAILY CALENDAR FOR SATURDAY, DAY 299 OF 2013: Well, I got up 15-minutes before the alarm went off this morning because Mlle. Renee insisted I get up and let her out. There’s nothing like a cold, wet dog nose running up your neck to your chin to get you up and out of bed in the morning. It was just a well, since today was opera day for me. So I got up, made coffee and toast, put out Renee’s kibble and water bowl refill, shave-showered, dressed and headed over to the Art Museum. With all the construction and remodeling work completed, the Met Opera Live in HD satellite broadcasts have returned to my favorite opera venue THE FARRELL AUDITORIUM at the museum. Far superior to the local megaplex where the singing has to compete with explosions, car chases and special sound effects bleeding through the adjoining theaters. The stereo sound, seating and general atmosphere is better, too.
The opera (based on Nicoli Gogol’s satirical short story) was first performed in 1930 in Russia, and not seen again until 1974. The Met’s production is unique in that it combines the life performance with motion picture projections.
Even for an opera, the plot and storyline is rather far-fetched. A minor official goes to a barber for a shave and wakes up the next morning to find his nose missing. The nose in the meantime starts out on a life of its own … even attaining a higher rank than the man. Since my taste in opera is basically late 19th and early 20th century works, Shostakovich’s opera takes a while to assimilate. Probably, three or four days. The production was interesting though. Check this clip from the Met production to see what I mean.
Squares and quadrangles don’t count.
Every Friday, I’m faced with the challenge of coming up with a unique photo for the weekly Photo Challenge. Sometimes I discover I have the perfect photo to submit only to realize that I’ve used it for another previous post. That’s what happened today. The challenge word was INFINITE and I knew I had the perfect photo to submit.
East Grand Stair – Saint Louis Art Museum (postmodern, designed by Charles Moore)
Unfortunately, I had used it in the Weekly Photo Challenge back in January. It still is a great staircase, and photo, too.
MY DAILY CALENDAR FOR MONDAY, DAY 280 OF 2013: Well, I’ve had a very busy and exciting weekend. On Saturday, I went to the first Met Opera Live in HD broadcast of the Fall Season at the newly refurbished theater in the Saint Louis Art Museum. On the way to the theater I checked out some new art …
Chiura Obata’s Hanging Scroll Setting Sun Of Sacramento Valley (1922)
Striding Eagle - Venetian Carving – 16th Century
And finally a gigantic wall filling painting by Roy Lichtenstein in the hallway leading to the newly refurbished Farrell Auditorium.
The Auditorium has always been a great venue with wood paneled walls for great acoustics. The restoration has added new carpeting, seating a new larger permanent screen and first class stereo sound system. And the video projection system is even brighter and sharper. In other words, it was made for showing the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD satellite transmissions.
The opera, Tchaikovsky’s retelling of the Pushkin novel Eugene Onegin was first rate. A GREAT OPENING to the opera season!
MY DAILY CALENDAR FOR THURSDAY, DAY 233 OF 2013: Today, I made my brain do all the work! I balanced my checkbook and I paid the monthly bills. I also decided that I really haven’t been treating myself very well. For the eighth month in a row I have had a budget surplus. Naturally, Renee thinks we should have more turkey, liver snaps and chew toys. I thought a subscription to the broadway musicals at the Fab Fox might be nice. Renee countered with, “No way! You do enough singing with the Met’s Live in HD series at the Art Museum.” Then I realized that the reason why we had a budget surplus was because I hadn’t gone to the Opera in quite a few months. And just like Bill Clinton’s trillion-dollar budget surplus in 2000, my budget surplus vanished. Win some, lose some!
Yum, Altoids’ Wintergreen ... Curiously Strong … and my favorite. Hopefully, I’ll type faster before the mint box empties.
Haven’t had much luck with this one, yet.
And in answer to a remark I heard last week as the bus I was riding on passed the St. Louis Art Museum …
Monet’s Water Lilies – Center Panel of the Tryptich
And an elderly couple!
One picture really is worth a million words and dollars!
MY DAILY CALENDAR WEEKEND EDITION – SUNDAY, DAY 229 OF 2013: I am convinced that Renee is turning in a four-pawed human being. Or if not, at least thinking she’s a human being. Today, I decided to do a single load of laundry, so that my next laundry day won’t be a multi-load overkill laundry day. She watched me load towels and washcloths into the washer and then disappeared. Next thing you know, she was standing next to me with her wash cloth in her mouth which she then dropped at my feet. I guess she wanted it washed, too. I originally gave her the gold washcloth (the only gold one I had in the house) was because she was always steal a used wash cloth out of the laundry pile and laying in on the floor to rub her face on it. With Renee, cleanliness is next to dogliness.
I had planned to sit outside and spend the afternoon reading/dozing in the shade again, but neighbors several houses up the hill decided to have a burnbecue. First they saturated the charcoal with enough lighter fluid to keep the Olympic Flame burning for a week. I sure the flashback when they ignited the charcoal had to singe their arms and eyebrows. And then … they put the meat on the grill right away, rather than cooking it only glowing coals. The entire neighborhood reeked of burnt meat. Hell, they were probably gnawing on charred bones before they even finished a single beer. And speaking of charred bones, it smelled like they threw them back on the fire after they finished gnawing the burnt meat from them. I do wish people who don’t know how to cook, would just order their food from Bubba B-B-Q Delivery.
So I spent the afternoon inside with Renee, and a couple of minutes ago the A.C. went on for the first time in two weeks. Oh, well, I knew the great weather couldn’t last forever.
St. John the Baptist 1878
Auguste Rodin / French, 1840–1917
Auguste Rodin depicted St. John the Baptist as a vigorous figure in motion. In fact, the sculptor requested that his model, an Italian peasant named Pignatelli, walk repeatedly about the studio so he could capture the spontaneity of the young man’s movements. Rodin’s representation of natural motion challenged conventional nineteenth century sculptural practices that conformed to an accepted canon of suitable, classical poses. For this reason, St. John became a milestone in the development of modern sculpture.
Madame du Vaucel -1712
Antoine Coysevox /French, 1640–1720
This handsome bust of Mme Du Vaucel was originally paired with one of her husband, a counselor in the court of Louis XIV and a prosperous farmer. She is not, however, dressed in the extreme opulence so common in Louis’s court, but wears instead a dress trimmed in a single row of lace at the neckline without additional jewelry. Coysevox’s talent lay in his ability to capture lively expressions in the eyes of his sitters through the incising of the pupils, which gives focus and intensity to their gaze.
Organic Forms (Striding Man) 1921
Rudolf Belling / German, 1886–1972
Rudolf Belling juxtaposes curved and angled forms to represent an abstract figure in motion. Spherical masses define the man’s head and shoulders while parallel projections suggest his ribcage. Belling explored the idea of making the human body resemble a mechanized figure. The smooth, metallic surface and streamlined forms of this striding robot reflect the preoccupation with the aesthetics of modern machines in interwar Germany.
Nancy Grossman / American, 1940
Leather, metal, wood, and nails. Enough said.