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OPTICAL DELUSIONS

THE DAILY POST WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: DREAMY

This week, we’d like to see an image that looks dreamy to you. A photo of a place you often visit in dreams. A snapshot of your dreamy boy- or girlfriend. A scene that looks a bit out-of-this world. Take us on a flight of fancy!  For more information, click here!

Dreamy to me is when I get home from an afternoon trip to the Art Museum, and all the photos I took seem to be looking back at me.DSC00615

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

Share a photo of what “relic” means to you — it could be your still-running 1979 Honda Accord Hatchback, a historic building in your town, or an old, rusted farm implement poking up through the long grass in a field.

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Apotheosis of St. Louis

Most people think this statue that stands at the top of Art Hill in front of the Saint Louis Museum Of Fine Art is the same statue  of Louis IX Saint and King of France that stood at the DeBaliviere entrance of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition (aka. The Saint Louis World’s Fair). It isn’t, it’s a copy. The original statue created by sculptor Charles Henry Niehaus was made of plaster, horse hair and paint like most of the exhibition buildings that had been built for the Fair. Two years after the fair grounds had been demolished except for two structures, the  Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company decided to commemorate their very successful fair with a bronze replica of the statue. Niehaus supposedly wanted too much money to cast his work in bronze, so the LPEC awarded the project to W. R. Hodges, a local artist. Until the Gateway Arch was constructed, this statue was the most photographed site in the city. I still photograph it several times each year. The photo shown here is my latest and current favorite.

 

THE WEEKEND REPORT – THE LUSTY MONTH OF MAY

Well at least for now, May has actually been acting like spring! The sun has been shining brightly, the air has warmed up and the bright yellow dandelions are fast turning into fairy puffs. FairyPuffs

And here’s how I spent my weekend!

SATURDAY …

Well, I went to my last Met Opera Live in HD of the season. Actually, it wasn’t the last broadcast of the season. The last opera is being broadcast next week Saturday, but I just saw it a couple of years ago and I’m not ready for a repeat performance yet. Anyway, I convinced  Mlle. Renee to get out of bed early so I could get up and get going. I jumped on the Metro Bus and headed for the Art Museum in Forest Park. Unfortunately, when I got to the park I discovered that my local bus was being rerouted around the park. That’s what happens on May 1. Because of the congestion caused by people going into the park with cars on Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the summer season the Metro System runs the Forest Park Trolley into the park that stops at all the tourist attractions people want to see. I didn’t want to wait for the next trolley so I walked into the park to the Art Museum. UpArtHill

This meant that I had to walk up ART HILL to get there. Trust me, it is actually easier to walk down ART Hill …DownArtHill

… than it is to walk up.  But, you do get a great photo opportunity  of the  STATUE OF SAINT LOUIS on the walk up.

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I know that while the name of the sculpture is The Apotheosis of Saint Louis, his horse remains an unknown, nameless beast of burden.

The name of the opera I was seeing  was COSI FAN TUTTE by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.Cosi_fan_tutte_-_first_performance

Actual the whole title is Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti, which translates Thus Do They All, or The School for Lovers. It was an opera buffa that was written in 1790 and it has some rather out-dated views on women being fickle when it comes to matters of love and relationships. I suppose this was the comedy rage back in 1790. It really doesn’t fly these days. So while the music was fantastic and the performances by the cast were some of the best this season, the storyline was a hard sell. It’s also one of Mozart’s lesser performed works.cosi_1209-s-jpg

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It was also four hours long, and the elderly gentleman in front of me was snoring rather loudly during the second act.

After the opera I walked through the galleries trying to find a new sculpture piece that recently went on display at the museum. It was a red clay stature of the Corn Maiden by the Mississippian Native Americans  that populated this area about one to two thousand years ago. I didn’t find it.

But I did find this Pre-Columbian Mexican work.PreColumbian

And this tiny four-inch tall work from a Mesopotamian tomb from 1000 to 2000 B.C.Mesopotamian Carving 2000-1000 BC

And then there was this TORSO OF AN ATHLETE …TorsoThe sculpture was nice, but I got a big kick out of reading the descriptive blurb posted next to it.

Roman, Imperial Period
TORSO OF AN ATHLETE, 1st-2nd Century marble

Museum Purchase 6, 1937

The physique of this torso is almost too good to be true, chiseled pectoral muscles, the faint impression of washboard abdominal muscles, and an exaggerated furrow between the hip and abdomen. We see the integration of realism and the ideal in the musculature, flesh, and bone structure. For example, the furrow along the hip and abdomen leading to the genitals is an artistic interpretation of the actual anatomical structure. For the Greeks, the nude male body was one of the highest forms of beauty. For a man to achieve such a physique, he had to participate in athletics at the gymnasium, where both athletic and important civic events were held. A sculpture such as this represents not only physical, athletic, and military excellence but also desirability and possibly immortality. 

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Some curator was really impressed with that torso!

And walking back down hill, I was able to see …Metal Tree

The Aluminum Tree -

Did you know that they rub bowling ball polish around the base of the tree to keep stray dogs from watering it?

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One Duck a Swimming

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THE PIED PIPER

Honoring the American Federation Of Musicians … really?

SUNDAY … I rested. Actually, I did try to pull some weeds out of the front beds,  but it didn’t agree with my spring allergies. So I spent the rest of the day inside.

 

THURSDAY … MY DAY AT THE MUSEUM

Today, I spent the day mowing the lawns for the first time this year. And it took me a half day to do it. Thankfully, I finished up and got all the equipment put away before the rain started. And by all the current weather predictions it will rain straight through until next Thursday.

“But wait a minute … what about your day at the museum that was in the headline???”

Oh, that was last Thursday! I was going to write about it over the weekend, but Easter commitments got in the way and I had to postpone it until today. Anyway, last Thursday I took my oldest friend Bill to the Panorama Restaurant in the museum to celebrate his birthday and view the featured exhibit. Actually, Bill really isn’t my oldest friend. I have a lot of friends who are much older, but Bill has been my best friend for longer than anyone else I know. For about 43 years. Actually, last Thursday really wasn’t his birthday either … his birthday really was on Thursday the week before. But real friends are always flexible with dates. Anyway we actually dressed up and went to lunch at the Panorama in the new addition to the Saint Louis Art Museum.DSC09701

If you look close, you can see us in the second window from the throwback 1904 lamp-post. The restaurant is called Panorama because this is the view of Art Hill you see when you’re seated at one of the window tables.

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In addition to having a very fine lunch, we also went to see a fantastic special exhibition … the first in the new exhibition galleries of the new building.France2

It was a very interesting show that combined the work of painters and photographers who came to fame during the IMPRESSIONIST PERIOD in France. And it featured the work of photographic pioneers like Gustave Le Gray and Charles Marville, Barbizon School painters including Camille Corot and Théodore Rousseau, and Impressionist painters such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Édouard Manet and Berthe Morisot. Being a special exhibit, cameras were not allowed. But, here’s an example.

aboutRightSideOr better yet here’s the museum’s video of the show.

It was interesting to see and compare the artists’ visions and the photographers’ captures of the same scenes.

After the we finished we wandered through the other galleries.

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I’m quite sure that was one of my early childhood paintings.DSC09680

And here’s France as seen by some German painter.

And remember when I promised to take a top view photo of  Andy Goldsworthy’s Stone Sea a few months ago?SLAM

Well, here it is …DSC09682

While I was on the backside of the museum building, I checked out how the new sculpture garden was coming.DSC09683

It’s a work in progress, but two Henry Moore sculpture’s are already in place.DSC09685

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And in case you’ve ever wondered what is behind the Saint Louis Art Museum …DSC09688

It’s the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest … and it does have walking paths and rustic benches if you just want to contemplate nature in the wild.

And that was my visit to SLAM  last Thursday!

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Well, not quite. I did have to snap a couple of shots of the men’s room in the new addition.

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It’s so classy, I’d be afraid to use it.

 

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: ON TOP

In a post created specifically for this challenge, share a photo that means On Top!

Yesterday, I made one of my regular visits to the Saint Louis Museum. It is a classic building designed by Cass Gilbert as the PALACE OF FINE ARTS for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 or as it is known around here THE SAINT LOUIS WORLD’S FAIR or The Fair Judy Garland Rode The Trolley To in Meet Me In Saint Louis.

It’s a beautiful old building supposedly inspired by the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. But I am always attracted to the six sculptures that stand ON TOP of the building. I suppose they represent the FINE ARTS, but it sure is hard to tell. They’re covered by a century worth of Saint Louis grime, soot and bird droppings. What do they really look like? But, they  still stand on top of the building that stands on top of Art Hill waiting for people to drop by and visit. If can’t visit, click on the photo for a closer view.

 

ON TOP

It’s Thursday, and the DRAGONFLIES are flying.

They’re not really flying! Dragonflies won’t show up until the sizzling days of summer which probably won’t show up until next October. We’re still in the middle of that cool down. But my Origami Summer Insect Program said today was the day to fold a paper dragonfly.

HERE’S A REAL DRAGONFLY…Summer beautiful dragonfly wallpapers 1920x1200 10And here’s my Origami dragonfly … Dragonfly

I thought he’d like to take a spin over the paper waterfall. I’m surprised it actually turned out looking like a dragonfly.

AND GUESS WHAT I FOUND GROWING IN THE FRONT FLOWER BEDS?DSC09663

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And lo and behold …DSC09665

I also went to the Art Museum this afternoon to view the special IMPRESIONISTS FRENCH exhibit. But that will have to wait until tomorrow.  Mlle. Renee is telling me it is time to go the bed. So look for it tomorrow.DF Art

How I survived leaping forward an hour, a four long Russian opera, a temp drop from 85°F to 31°F in 12 hours, and more SNOW‽

When you live in the Wicket City, you’ve always got something or other to bitch about. So, I been a bit lax in the last day or four about updating my daily status. My obvious excuse would be that nothing was happening.  But, I’d have  to clarify that comment to admit, that I really didn’t feel like making anything happen! OK, I was in a winter’s end slump, I can’t adapt to DST time changes anymore, and I think I’m getting older and crankier. Or maybe I was bitten by the ennui bug. I’m sure Oscar Hammerstein would have been able to knock out a ton of memorable lyrics to describe or explain my mood or condition. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m as restless as a willow in a windstorm really describes my condition or state of mind.

I did risk the possibility of winter rain storm last Saturday by heading over to the Art Museum’s Auditorium to attend a delayed showing of the MET Live in HD broadcast of Borodin’s rarely performed opera, PRINCE IGOR.prince_igor

Now, Prince Igor, is an opera that almost everyone reading this post would recognize. Unfortunately, they would recognize it as KISMET, because Borodin was a real whiz at writing a catchy tune and couple of guys named Forrest and Wright “borrowed” his Russian music for some Arabian Nights lyrics they had written for a Broadway Musical.  Actually, while Borodin spent over 18-years writing his opera, (He had a dual career as a chemist first and then a musical composer second or third.)  and he died before it ever was performed. His friends Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov gathered all the bits and pieces and patched it together as a finished performable opera. And for the past 100 years it reappeared in a variety of versions. Saturday’s four and a half hour version was the latest. While I had quibbles with some of the director/adaptor’s choices with this production, I had none with Borodin’s original musical and storytelling creativity.

After the opera I managed to disappear into one of the Museum’s works …DSC09277

and discover what this drinking jug …DSC09281

probably contained. DSC09282

I don’t think it was goat’s milk.

As you might have guessed, our weather has been fluctuating like a whirling dervish for the past week. A cold weekend …DSC09288

followed by a Monday and Tuesday full of sun and temps in the upper 80s! Then yesterday afternoon the temp started dropping … dropping some 54 degrees! Thankfully, I survived that, too. And the overnight snow the weather wizards had been threatening us with yesterday turned out to be a lot of rain.  Oh, well, that’s life in the Wicket City.

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: After Mona Lisa

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It’s The First Weekend In Our Meteorological Spring

 In meteorology for the Northern hemisphere, spring officially began yesterday on March 01, 2014. But you sure wouldn’t know it by looking outside last night or this morning. That’s when Stormageddon returned with a blast of Winterpast. It didn’t start out that way, because we had a family outing scheduled for late afternoon and evening as the Saint Louis Art Museum officially welcomed spring to the museum.

ArtInBloom  After a five-year hiatus that allowed the Museum to construct the new East Building and reconfigure all the galleries in the original Cass Gilbert building, the Museum’s annual festival of fine art  and fresh flowers returned to the Wicket City.

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 And an abundance of spring’s blooming bounty shared the galleries with works art from all ages and all parts of the world. As custom,  local florists and garden clubs were invited to present their interpretations of 31 works of art selected from the Museum’s vast collections … from Egyptian mummies to native artifacts to Modern Art. Here are some of the works that caught my eye.

ISLAMIC BASIN  - 1927 -  EGYPTIAN

ISLAMIC BASIN – 1927 – EGYPTIAN

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SPOUTED VESSEL - QUAPAW

SPOUTED VESSEL – QUAPAW

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PEDESTAL CLOCK

PEDESTAL CLOCK

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With my brother and niece in the background.

WATER LILIES - CLAUDE MONET

WATER LILIES – CLAUDE MONET

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ACROBATS - MAX BECKMANN

ACROBATS – MAX BECKMANN

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Sorry, Beekmann is always a bit out of focus for me.

TANG DYNASTY -BACTRIAN CAMEL

TANG DYNASTY -BACTRIAN CAMEL

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The two flower arrangements in the center are the floral interpretations of the MUSE CALLIOPE FIREPLACE PANELS on either side of the photo. This photo was taken in the Museum’s original library overlooking Art Hill, the park and the now mostly frozen Grand Basin.

TWILIGHT IN THE WILDERNESS - ALFRED T. BRITCHER

TWILIGHT IN THE WILDERNESS – ALFRED T. BRITCHER

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CRADLE - CHEYENNE (The Danforth Native American Collection)

CRADLE – CHEYENNE (The Danforth Native American Collection)

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This was my favorite flower arrangement.

And for a couple of flower arrangements saluting the new contemporary galleries …DSC09189

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And I did find one painting that reflected  the weather that was beginning to form outside the Museum’s walls … Outisidejpg

But before that started, we were all able to head over to the HILL for a great Italian dinner and get home. This morning we woke up to freezing rain, sleet, near zero temps and snow.

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