Sunday, February 28, 2021

Taking a Closer Look


For today's post, I'm taking a closer look at some of the art works that were part of an exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art or LACMA for short.  This particular exhibit contained works that were part of the museum's collection and were all gifted to the museum.  

First up is "Flying Mercury", a bronze that dates from around 1580.  

This gorgeous sculpture was given to the museum by Lynda and Stewart Resnick in 2015 as a gift to the museum on its 50th birthday.  

Isn't that a magnificent sculpture?  

Next up is this incredibly beautiful piece called the "Onians Cabinet".  Its origin goes back to Naples Italy around 1600.  It is made from exotic woods with ebony, ivory and steel.  

The details on this piece are beautiful.  It came to the museum from the Estate of Ernest Onians who passed away in 1995.  I was curious about who Onians was so I did a search that led me down a rabbit hole of fascinating information.  He was an art collector from Suffolk in England who was not your usual art connoisseur.  If you are interested, check out this story written by Onians' great niece.  It's a fascinating account of an unusual collector and what happens to his collection after he was gone.  The short account tells a tale of how even expert art appraisers from Sotheby's can miss a a very valuable work of art.

The next piece I examined more closely was this lovely cabinet called the Pietre Dure Cabinet.  Apparently "Pietre Dure" means hard rocks and represents a type of art popular with the Medici family of Florence. Pietre Dure art creates pictures formed from semiprecious stones fitted together so tightly the seams are barely visible to the eye.  This piece contains 19 pictorial panels depicting birds and flowers.

I'm not sure why I didn't take a close up photo of one of those gorgeous panels.  Instead I was attracted to the gold statues at the top of the cabinet.  

These last two pieces in the exhibit appealed to me because of the exquisite beauty of the fabrics and the details of the embroidery work.  These are also the only pieces that my research could find no record of.  I believe they are chasubles but I can't be certain.

I let my camera take a closer look at the impeccable weaving of one of the garments.  You can even see the faces of what look like angels.  

So that concludes my 'closer look' at some great works of art.  I enjoy researching these items as much as I enjoy seeing them in person.  I'm glad I took the photos to remind me to do the research. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Chicago Landmark

 I'm jumping from the Singing Tower featured last Sunday to the Chicago Water Tower today.

The Chicago Water Tower is a well known landmark in the city.  It was built in 1869 and it along with the Chicago Avenue Pumping Station across the street served to bring water in from Lake Michigan.

The tower became a famous landmark after it and the pumping station survived the 1871 Great Chicago Fire.  It was the only public building in the burned zone to survive.  

Today the water tower holds the Chicago Office of Tourism and a gallery that contains historic photos along with works from local artists.  It is still possible to tour the pumping station and view those huge pipes that served the city so well over 100 years ago.

I always enjoy seeing that historic tower surrounded by all those modern high-rise buildings.  It's a nice juxtaposition of old versus new.   

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Singing Tower


These photos today are from the big stash of slides I found last summer and scanned.  This place is called Bok Tower Gardens located north of Lake Wales in Florida.  I visited there on the same trip that took me to Epcot many years ago.

In the center of the garden is a tall tower containing carillon bells that play soothing music while you stroll the garden.

The garden was lush with tropical plants including many magnolia trees that were in full bloom.  I have one distinct memory from visiting this place.  I was seated on a bench listening to the music when a small ground squirrel tried to climb up my bare leg.  Needless to say, I screeched from the pain caused by his sharp little claws and off he went.  

The photo to the right was from one of the slides that faded a bit but you can see the tower clearer. For the photo at the top I was using a special soft focus filter.  The colors are better but you can't see the top of the tower.

Sunday, February 7, 2021



Many years ago I had the privilege of being among the first tourists to visit EPCOT, the theme park adjacent to Walt Disney World in Florida.  It was October of 1982 and it was an amazing experience.  There were many ceremonies and a lots of fireworks.  Space Ship Earth (above) dominates the entrance to the park.  There was a ride inside that round globe that takes riders on a time machine trip around our globe.

The Imagination Pavilion had films and slide shows.  I recall a presentation about the history of photography but after a little research, I discovered that the shows at this pavilion are always evolving with the latest technology.  

My favorite area of EPCOT was where the 'country' pavilions were located.  I loved visiting all 10 that were there at the time.  (There are now 11 pavilions.  One for Norway opened 4 years later.)

Above is a quiet corner in the Morocco Pavilion and to the left is the China Pavilion.  

To the right is a scene from the Japan pavilion.  

I located these photos recently but, it seems like there must be more somewhere because I recall taking photos at every single pavilion.  I have Morocco, China and Japan represented here but I'm missing the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, Italy and the U.S. Maybe there is some irony in those missing photos.  I've been able to visit everyone of those missing countries since this time but I've never been to the three represented here.

I'll never forget being there for the grand opening with all the ceremonies opening the different pavilions and a wonderful welcoming speech from Walt Disney himself.