Saturday, June 7, 2008

El Greco and the Museum of Fine Arts

Today, T and I toddled off to the MFA to view the special exhibit "From El Greco to Velásquez." We made a picnic lunch (caesar chicken salad wraps--YUM!) and caught the T downtown. It was rather warm outside, so it was quite nice to sit on the air conditioned train as it whizzed by leafy trees and big apartment buildings. Once at the museum we had a nice leisurely walk through the exhibit. Did you know El Greco (The Greek) was an iconographer before he became a painter for King Philip III? I think that explains why the figures in his painting were always so elongated (the style used when writing icons is very particular. The figures have long noses to smell the incense; they have large foreheads to show their knowledge of holy things; their eyes are always open and attentive to the Word of God; their mouths are closed because they are listening; etc.). I can't quite explain why so many of El Greco's works look so stormy, but it definitely makes them distinctive. I liked his painting of the crucifixion they had on display (I've forgotten which particular one it is). He painted all three languages on the sign above Jesus, saying He was the king of the Jews. Here is another of my favorites at the exhibit. I love the way he captured the real look of a stormy, overcast sky. This is his "View of Toledo," though you wouldn't actually see these buildings together in the real place. El Greco took quite a bit of artistic license and added the cathedral, which is actually on the other side of town, out of sight from the hill he was on. Then we browsed through the gift shops. I always love going through museum gift shops because of the wide variety of things they have for sale. I hardly ever buy anything, but sometimes I get great ideas for gifts I can make on my own. The coolest thing we saw this time was a multi-colored pencil. It was fat and had four colors in the tip (red, blue, green, and yellow). We wanted to get one, but couldn't think of anything to write with it, so we put it back :( I have to say that it's been great living in Boston so far. We are thoroughly enjoying the easy access to such great things like the MFA and the symphony. We are currently planning out the next symphony season, picking which concerts we want to go to and working out the details (we don't like to eat out a whole lot, but we have to get downtown early to get rush tickets, so we have decided to pack a picnic dinners and eat after getting the tickets while waiting for the performance to start). Should be a good summer! One day soon, I want to go back to the MFA and look through the regular exhibits again. We have only seen those once so far.

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