Boston Museum of Fine Arts Trip

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving we went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to check out the new Art of the Americas Wing.

But before we even made it to the new wing we noticed an amazing example of both fine craftsmanship and illusion near the lunch court.

Glass and Mirror Illusion

From one end the glass object seem to go off into infinity.

Glass Mirror Illusion

From the side we see the display is only several feet long.

The lower floor of the new wing has some fantastic Central and South American artifacts from the Mayan, Olmec, Aztec and Inca civilizations. The carved Conch shell horn below is an example of amazing craftsmanship.

Carved Conch Shell

The maritime history room is impressive. The room contains numerous ship models, artifacts and historical maritime art.

Maratime History Room Ship Models

British ships of the line at Algiers

The painting above is by Robert Salmon depicting the 1816 bombardment of Algiers by the English and Dutch.

I like this painting of an icebound whaling ship by American artist William Bradford.

Driftwood by Winslow Homer

The painting above is titled Driftwood by Winslow Homer. He did a fantastic job capturing the violence and energy of the ocean. He painted it while staying at his family home on Prouts Neck in Maine. This was his last major painting before his death in 1910.

The Lookout by Winslow Homer

I had not seen this Winslow Homer painting before but I really like it. It is titled The Lookout – “All’s Well”.

Fishing Party by Fitz H. Lane

This is titled Fishing Party by Fitz H. Lane, who is another one of my favorite artists.

Mt. Desert Island, Maine by William Haseltine

The painting above is titled A View from Mount Desert by William S. tells us “William Haseltine became best known as a landscape and marine painter who had a special talent for conveying light and geological detail.” I had never heard of him before but I am now a fan.

View of the Round Top by Thomas Cole

Another new artist I now like is Thomas Cole. The painting above is titled View from the Round-Top in the Catskill Mountains which he did in 1827.

Otter Creek, Mt. Desert by Edwin Church

This is another painting of Mount Desert Island in Maine. It is titled Otter Creek, Mt Desert by Frederick Edwin Church, who is another one of my favorite artists.

I look forward to going back to the museum when I have more time and the crowds are smaller. There is lots more to explore.

Peabody Museum of Archaeology

On the Friday after Thanksgiving Eileen and I made a visit to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They have a very impressive collection of historical artifacts and natural history specimens.

Eileen at the sign

They have an impressive exhibit about the Lakota Sioux. I was fascinated by the bow and arrow display. You are close enough to see how the items were made and detail about the craftsmanship. The bow is short which would make it better to use when on horseback. I noticed the arrowheads are steel which means these arrows are from the era after contact with the Europeans.

Bow and arrows

Beyond the Lakota exhibit is the Hall of the North American Indian. They have some great artifacts.

WeaponsThe photo above are weapons of the Iroquois tribe. I found it interesting that the the tomahawk is also a peace pipe. Very symbolic of the tenuous balance between war and peace.

Bird arrow and snowshoe

A special arrow for bird hunting caught my eye along with some fine examples of snowshoe craftsmanship. The blunt end of the bird arrow did not cause damage to the flesh or valuable feathers of the bird.

As a fisherman I am always interested in historical fishing technology and artifacts. This gear is from the Thompson River area in British Columbia.

Ancient Fishing Gear

Model of Mandan House

One of the things I have always loved about the Peabody Museum are the wonderful models and dioramas they make. This wonderful model of a Mandan Indian house is a great example. I remembered that the Mandan tribe was one of the tribes encountered by the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804.

Mayan Mural

The Mayan mural above was discovered in 2001 by Harvard archaeologist William Saturno. The discovery was accidental when they stopped at a small cave for shelter from the rain. As the brochure says,

“The North Wall mural emphasizes the agricultural cycle of death and rebirth and the symbols and rituals of kingship. The otherworldly story of creation and sacrifi ce serves to establish the power of the real Maya king in this world.”

The mural shows the “Maize deity” receiving a gourd of water from a kneeling person.

Giant gold nugget

Before leaving the archaeology museum we visited the adjacent Museum of Natural History. They have many impressive crystal, mineral and rock specimens including this replica of a giant gold nugget named the “Welcome Nugget”. The real one was discovered in Australia in 1858.

Museum trip to Cambridge and Boston

Thanksgiving 2010 was special because Eileen and I spent the long weekend in Cambridge at the Hyatt. Friday we went to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology at Harvard and Saturday it was the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Hyatt at night

Fantastic hotel! It had recently been renovated. It was very clean, comfortable and elegant. The staff is very polite and attentive to your needs. We enjoyed many of our meals and refreshments at Zephyr on the Charles which is the Hotel’s restaurant and lounge. The view and the service was outstanding. They also make a great Cosmopolitan. 🙂

Zepher on the Charles

The view of the Charles River and Boston skyline was nice. I recommend the river view rooms.

Boston skyline from Cambridge

Prudential Building

Here is a nice view of the Prudential Building and the large Citgo sign near Fenway Park.

Stay tuned for more photo from the museum trips.