Thursday, October 8, 2009
Reflections of Classic Art at the Nelson
Today after work, I decided I would take advantage of the dreary afternoon and take myself on a journey to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. If you are not from Kansas City you may not know a lot about the Nelson so here is a short synopsis of the museum. this comes directly from their website:
“The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is internationally recognized for its outstanding collection of more than 33,500 objects. From ancient times to modern day, this encyclopedic museum is one of the best in the country, offering visitors the opportunity to explore civilization through the eyes of painters, sculptors, craftsmen, and many other artists.”
My first visit to the Nelson was sometime during Middle/High School with the gifted education program. I remember being awed by the beauty of the building, and its collection. Over the years I have returned often, with School and by myself in the later years. During my time in Hawaii I was always upset that their was no selection of museums. Their is the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, but the majority of the museum is dedicated to culture of the Pacific Rim.
Todays visit was one of the best I have ever had. I had about two hours to kill between shifts, and I am glad I chose to visit today. My favorite Exhibit is the art of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Roman, essentially a collection of all art leading up to the Gothic Period of Art. Unfortunately (or maybe not so much) the exhibit is undergoing a massive renovation and will be returning in August of 2010. So instead I visited the remainder of the first floor art which includes art from Gothic up until The Victorian Age. Here is what I wrote after leaving the museum.
The Museum was very quiet, interrupted only by the clicking of the shoes of the Docents on the varied Marble and Parquet floors. I was immediately embraced by the uncanny feelings of coldness brought to my by the giant black marble pillars in the main hall of the museum, and warmth from the excitement of once again traversing these halls of art and enlightenment. I could here the tinkling of the fountain from inside the Rozelle Court. I was immediately embraced by the memories of my first trip to the museum, walking with First Best Soul Friend (Meryl your first appearance!) and various other Good Gifted Friends (Jai Hoyer, and Seth Tomassi, and Johnatahn Switzer stand out in my mind) And being over awed by the immensity of the building.
Not long after arriving a group of school children arrived, they appeared to be around 2nd grade ish (not sure) and they were so amazing to watch, all holding hands in twos, and walking in a line, hushing one another if it got too loud, but their faces were full of excitement and wonder. I was filled with awe thinking that once that may have been me. They seemed to have a preternatural instinct for the solemn reverence due to such a wonderful place.
Taking a moment to gaze a Monet’s Water lilies, i was filled with the impression of faerie mists arising from a cool pond in the french countryside, the illusion of of bird song, and the smells of nature seemed to almost overwhelm me.
I traversed halls lined with paintings, sculptures, and furniture from ancient days, feeling the weight of their age upon my mind. I overheard a Grandfather telling his grandson about standing in the Piazza del Popolo, which was in the painting before them, remembering what the day was like and where he had his lunch and the beautiful girl he watched serving coffee to the patrons.
I kept feeling time washing over me, back and forth, like a river. It was as if the past, present and future existed all at once but in their own places all at once. Rich thoughts of my life ran through me, coming to the Nelson as a Child, then teenager, then a young man and now as an adult, being all these ages all at once, yet not. I remembered the dreams of someday traveling to France or Italy and become an expatriate like Hemingway, T.S. Elliot, Stein, or Fitzgerald sitting at a cafe on the banks of the Seine and writing the most profound works of my generation cultivating an acute remembrance for things lost and things happening, and things yet to come.