Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Trip to Cincinatti

Cincinnati, Ohio is only about a 2 hour drive from where I live.  I tend to make a trip to this river city four or five times a year for various reasons. 

This weekend I traveled to Cincinnati to shop at the Ikea store, and to visit one of my favorite places in the area, The Cincinnati Art Museum. 

What I love about Cincinnati is that it's a very modern, rockin' sort of place....


...but it's juxtaposed with Victorian homes...

....and buildings, like the Cincinnati Music Hall...

...and interspersed with tons of Art Deco and Arts and Craft style architecture.

Our first stop was Ikea.  Who doesn't love, stylish, inexpensive, Swedish style furniture and home goods?  I know I do. 
Moment of confession...I've never owned a "real" teapot!  Shocker! I know!  So, today, at Ikea, I finally bought one....

....and, a matching cream pitcher and sugar bowl.  All for under $15.  That was all I bought for myself, but I did manage to get a little bit of early Christmas shopping done as well.  However, I can't post pictures of those items, because it would spoil the surprise for some people.

When we were finished shopping, we drove over to The Cincinnati Art Museum.  I always get giddy going to this place.  It's free, for one...but more importantly, I get to see some quality art. 


The architecture of the museum is a work of art in and of itself.  Check out the grand staircase at the center of the museum,  The museum was opened in 1886, and wings were added on over the next 100 years, creating sort of a time capsule of architecture.  There is a great deal of Art Deco and Arts and Crafts influence in the place....which satisfies me immensely.  Let me give you a brief tour of a few of my favorite places in the museum and favorite works of art.

This is the inner courtyard at the Museum, where my friend and I ate lunch.

Here's my traveling companion, and friend, Laura, getting ready to enjoy lunch at the museum's Terrace Cafe.

My delicious salad, made with summer berries, grilled chicken, feta cheese and a poppy seed dressing.  Oh, and check out the hummus and Bree cheese appetiser in the background...yummm.

There are many interesting rooms placed throughout the museum.  It's always fun to get lost in the maze of galleries.  This is the Dutch Renaissance Room.

Here's an early 19th century, American Interior Design.

A meditative sort of room featuring icons and a large medieval triptych.

A medieval room...I mean tomb.

Since I'm such a fan of Art Nouveau, I'm always drawn toward this piece called Fountain of the Water Nymph, 1913, by Clement J. Barnhorn.

I would love to have this Arts and Crafts style desk in my home.

And who wouldn't want a Corner Cupboard, 1871, by Henri L. Fry, in their dining room.

I'm always fascinated by the antiquity present in each room, like this fearsome, Roman lion sculpture.

I love the sinuous design of this medieval, Celtic influenced, fresco.

This portrait reminds me of the many iconic representations I saw when I was in Assisi, Italy several years ago.  It's a portrait of Saint Lucy, c.1449.

And this Italian Renaissance portrait, c.1549, reminds me of when I was in Venice. (The son is of the Medici Family.)

I'm not typically a fan of Still Life paintings, but the Dutch have the art mastered.  I admire them for not tidying up their still life's....it's almost as if they ate their lunch, and decided to paint was was left over.  This one's c. 1641.

A late 18th century, jovial young lady, sporting the same hair style that my and my friends have been trying to emulate.

A handsome, early 19th century, young man painted in miniature.  I would like to make my husband a frock coat like his.

A late 19th century painting, influenced at the time by the orient.

Two portraits of young ladies by Frank Duveneck, c. 1880.  I really like the large brush strokes and intense shadows present.

I'm not really a fan of the Impressionists, mostly, I think it's because EVERYONE seems to like the Impressionists.  But, I feel obliged to always give this Claude Monet landscape a nod.

This is probably my favorite painting in the entire museum.  It's a John Singer Sargent portrait.  I've seen several of his portraits in museums in Boston and other places, and I literally could stand in front of one, staring at it for hours.  There's just something about the sheer size of most of his portraits (most of them life size) and the lighting, and the loose brushstrokes that makes the characters in his paintings dance and move with life.  I feel as if his models might walk right off of the canvas.

If I could, I would fill my house with Rookwood Pottery.

Another favorite artist of mine is Georges Rouault.  He is about as modern as it gets for me when it comes to art I like.  He was at his height of creativity in the 1930's.  This painting is called Christ in Profile, c. 1930.  His paintings have almost a childish feel to them at times, but there's also something reverent, and iconic about them too.

Here's another of his, Carmencita, c. 1937.

And now for the REAL reason why we went to the Art Museum.

Beginning today, through January 2nd, the museum is hosting an exhibit entitled Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman.  It's an exhibition focused on the idea of the modern woman in Georgian England.  Gainsborough painted some of the most fashionable, and sometimes scandalous women of his time.

We were not allowed to take photographs of his paintings, so I'm sorry that these images found on the Internet will have to do.  The ones that you see here are some of the ones featured in this exhibit.  If you are fortunate enough to be in the Cincinnati area any time within the the next 4 month, you absolutely MUST stop in to see this show.

I can't even begin to describe the beauty of these portraits.  But let me just say that they were larger than life size....the skin of these ladies was flawless, like glass...their gowns of silk, lace, organza, and jewels floated and shimmered in the almost candle-like lighting. 

I found myself drooling over the ladies in the portraits high sense of fashion.  I am so full of ideas now that I'm about to burst with inspiration.

The sitters gazed at you with their intense, liquid eyes, causing you to either blush or feel like you were a part of their little secret.  I would have liked to have known these ladies and young girls.  These two young ladies are the painter's daughters.

Even though we weren't allowed to take pictures of the paintings, we were allowed to photograph the information plaques.  I've included three, for your viewing/reading pleasure.  However, these three plaques aren't about the paintings....they are about the best part of the exhibit, in my opinion...they are about the actual antique garments that were on display there. 

Dress and Petticoat, 1775-1785.

Stays, 1775-1785.

Dress and Petticoat, 1760-1770.

I only wish I could have taken pictures of the two gowns, and the underpinnings. I found myself leaning in, only a couple of inches from the petticoats and bodices, examining the minute hand stitching, the seams, the flawless rouged and pinked embellishments, the quilted edges, gathers and flounces. It was all I could do to keep myself from reaching out and touching the garments.  I was in clothing heaven.



This is not one of the gowns, but it is similar to what I was looking at.

This is an example of what the pinked edges looked like.  I couldn't believe how such an antique garment had resisted fraying over the years.


One of the gowns looked very similar to the style of this one in the back, but the gown didn't have a long train, it was pinned up in a polonaise fashion instead.

One thing that my friend Laura and I notice and commented on as we drove away from the museum was how small the gowns were.  I am not a tall girl...I barely reach 5' 5" on a good day...but the wearers of these gowns must have been only 5' if not shorter, and so petite, so tiny...like little dolls.

This was definitely an exhibit that left an impact on me.  I will cherish this little jewel of an experience for a very long time.

6 comments:

Nabila Grace said...

Oh my goodness I believe I drooled! :o) I LOVE your teapot! I don't have one either :o( One of the fun things I have been looking for in thrift stores. I LOVE all the museum pics! My favorite thing to do when I visit my dad is to go the the "Mall in DC" to the art museums and just spend hours looking at each piece of art! It's so inspiring. Thank you for the tid-bit of museum viewing today! :o)

Persuaded said...

Heavens to Betsy, what a treat this post is! I haven't been to an art museum in.. possibly a decade? Could it really be that long?? I need to rectify that situation. I am also a tremendous fan of Sargent's portraits. We have a wonderful example in the closest "big" city museum closest to us. It's of a mother and her sons and oh how I adore just gazing at it. That and a Monet are the things I simply have to tear myself away from almost by force... sigh. When I was young and single I lived within walking distance of that museum and the bench in front of the Monet was my special spot. I'd feel quite affronted if I came into that gallery to find someone else already sitting there, lol.

Jenni said...

Nabila, I've been to several of the art museums in D.C. a couple of times, actually....they are certainly drool-worthy and inspiring places. I once experienced an orchestra playing in one of the inner courtyards of the National Gallery of Art. The natural accustics of the domed shaped ceiling caused the sound to vibrate into your skin. It was like living in the most beautiful sound you could imagine...and all that time, being surrounded by priceless works of art.

Diane, I would say it is high time for you to make another trip to that museum, and reclaim your "special spot". It's still yours, you know! And what fun that you can now fill the rest of that bench with three or four others who might benefit from an outing to the museum. Every time I make it back to an art museum, I walk away with that strange feeling of "now THAT'S what I was missing." Beauty is a gift from God, and our soul yearns for it.

Nabila Grace said...

Oh my! I got goose bumps just thinking about the sound of the music!!! I am a lover of music so the two combined! :oP Well that makes for a good day :o) I suggest your next international trip to go to the Cairo museum :oP Now THATS a museum to hit history and art :o)

Jenni said...

Nabila, I've always wanted to go to Egypt...I'll add it to my wish list! ;-)

Natalie said...

Dear Jenni,

Funny, while I had visited the Cincinnati Museum a few years ago, it's apparent that I missed a good bit. Thoroughly enjoyed the vicarious trip...now to plan a real one, as soon as chance affords. Hmmm.

Very best,
Natalie in KY