Italian Agenda

After a long break from art and art history related things, I took a friend visiting from California to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (one of my very favorite museums mostly because it is so unlike a museum).

The galleries are situated in a square surrounding the most wonderful courtyard. You cannot enter it, but you can overlook it from the Venetian windows on all sides, on the second and third floor. It is difficult to describe the experience of visiting this museum, it sweeps you in with a drama that is reminiscent of another era. No photography is allowed and certain rules are enforced, this is forgiven because it allows a sense of mystery and the collapse of time.

The objects in each gallery are not labelled, Sophia and I had fun testing ourselves (there are laminated maps in the corner). There were many high fives (art history nerds). She was especially impressed by Titian's Europa (1562).

We lingered for a very long time, taking in the diversity of the galleries, one of which was completely wallpapered with painted leather. Each room is an eclectic collection of objects, you could spend days discovering new things.

The week prior to this adventure, I took a trip to the Cambridge Antiques Market in search of some last minute wedding decor (my first time as maid of honor!). This place is amazing! I can't believe I've never been before especially since it's just down the street from my place. They have five floors full of fun stuff, all in good condition and reasonably priced. We were having so much fun (bride to be, Megan and I) looking at everything and squealing with delight. We were both smitten by a box of sassy Italian sunglasses, she picked up a purple pair (these became her "I'm freaking out and need to put on another persona" accessory) and I chose a neon lucite pair. I also snagged a luxurious leather purse, perfect for summer and made in Italy of course, as I was running out the door ($20 for the lot!).

Photo by Sophia Quach McCabe
Photo by Sophia Quach McCabe

Ready with my outfit, we put on Antonioni's Red Desert (1964).  

Screenshot from Red Desert.

The photography reminded me so much of Philadelphian artist Charles Sheeler (although Leger is said to be the inspiring artist).

Categorized as a Precisionist, Sheeler is known for flat panels of color and creating industrial atmospheres that give off a sense of religious expression. I am very drawn to his pictures. I like the juxtaposition of hard modern lines and dreamy environments.

Sheeler, Amoskeag Canal, 1948.

Monica Vitti.

Sheeler, Side of White Barn, 1915. Photograph.

Oh and Monica Vitti, amazing as always!

Sheeler, River Rouge Plant, 1932.
Sheeler, Architectural Cadences, 1954.

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