It had been years since I had last been there... It was delightful to see what had changed (the African Art installation had expanded, for instance) and what had stayed the same (the Antioch mosaics were still there, like I remembered).
|It was a beautiful day for a museum trip, don't you think?|
I have always appreciated the scope of the BMA's collection... While it does lean more heavily on the side of modern and contemporary art, there are definite nods to other times and cultures as well. (And don't worry--Baltimore isn't lacking in art museums. For the more ancient periods--Mesopotamian, Greek, Byzantine--there is always the Walter's Art Musuem. I just didn't get there this trip.)
It was while looking at the section on African Art, taking lots and lots of pictures, that I decided that I wanted to do a Monthly Challenge based on the works of art that I saw.
And so... Surprise! That's what I'm going to do this month! (See, I told you it was relevant.)
That's right, I'm going to make jewelry inspired by the works of art I saw while visiting the Baltimore Museum of Art. Now, I haven't decided just what pieces are going to inspire my jewelry-designing, so I've decided to share an overview of what I saw. I did take lots of pictures, after all. ;)
The first exhibit we looked at was the aforementioned one for African Art. According to the BMA website, it has 85 pieces on display, and "artists and diverse traditions from more than 40 African empires, kingdoms, and regions are represented."
Baga culture, Guinea, Early 20th Century
|Adornment from the Masai region, Tanzania, mid-20th century.|
|Jewelry from North Africa, 18th-19th century.|
(The individual labels are visible, so please read them for more details.)
|Royal Man's Mask|
Kuba Kingdom, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1970s
...yes, that is seedbead work with cowrie shells.
There was so much amazing art from that section, and I would love to do more research into the different traditions. Obviously, each culture has its own patterns and symbolism--and that makes the Anthropologist in me exceedingly excited!
...And that was only one section of the BMA. Next, we meandered through the Asian Art section:
|Water-Moon Guanyin, Wan Bing country, Hebei province, China.|
According to the BMA website, this gallery "conveys 2,000 years of innovation by Chinese artists from 2nd century BCE to today, and the impact that has had on cultures around the world. [This gallery features] ceramics, furniture, paintings and bronze, jade, and lacquer objects."
|Display dedicated to art tied to longevity and immortality.|
|Tomb Guardian with Lion's Face|
China, late 6th-early 7th century.
We then followed up with a visit to a special installation of Japenese textiles, called Kimono & Obi: Romantic Echoes from Japan's Golden Age:
The BMA website says that this is: "an exquisite selection of late 19th to 21st century kimono and obi never before [seen] on view. These stunning garments were made after the lifting of sumptuary laws during Japan's Edo period... when commoners were forbidden to wear showy clothing with colors like red or purple... Many of these kimono displayed decorative motifs with symbols of the Imperial Court referring to the Heian Era, considered Japan's Golden Age."
...Honestly, just look at how beautiful these are! I could do an entire challenge based just on these!
Next, we skipped ahead across the globe to the American section, and looked at the stunning stained glass works by Louis Comfort Tiffany:
|Window: Baptism of Christ.|
From a design by Frank Brangwyn,
manufactured by the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, c. 1897.
|Close-up of the window and one of the columns,|
also credited to Louis Comfort Tiffany.
|An even closer close-up of the mosaic column.|
Just look at the iridescence of those glass pieces!
Continuing along the mosaic theme, the next stop on our BMA visit was the Antioch Mosaics, with Rodin's The Thinker keeping guard:
As you might suspect from the name, these mosaics are from Antioch (modern day Turkey), where they served as floors in ancient Greek and Roman homes. The figures were created by master craftsmen, while the elaborate borders were the work of apprentices.
And, lastly, we visited the BMA's Cone Collection--a wonderful collection of modern art by such masters as Matisse, Picasso, Cezanne, Monet, and Van Gogh:
|Two paintings by Monet.|
It's called the Cone Collection after its curators, Baltimore sisters Claribel and Etta Cone. In the early 20th century, these sisters visited the Paris studios of Matisse and Picasso and began amassing an amazing collection of approximately 3,000 objects. They displayed these objects in their apartments prior to being given to the Museum.
...What amazing apartments those must have been!
|A Pair of Boots.|
Vincent van Gogh, 1887.
|...Another view of the boots, because they make me happy.|
These women collected everything they found lovely... which not only included paintings, but jewelry:
And even keys:
...Based on our shared love of collecting pretty things, I think I would have gotten along very well with the Cone sisters. :)
So, there you go! That is just a fraction of what I saw while visiting the Baltimore Museum of Art... All sorts of inspiration for jewelry design, and springboards into further research!
If you want to play along, feel free to make something based on one of these pictures--or even something from one of your own trips to an art museum. Art inspires art, after all, and there is so much inspiration to be found there!
Please come back on November 25th, the last Friday of the month (and yep, the day after Thanksgiving), to see what I end up making!