Sunday, January 30, 2022

Heading to Ancient Egypt


Whenever I walk through the front doors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, I always make a right turn and head directly to the Egyptian Art rooms.  I seem to be drawn to that one location more than any other spot in the museum.

The museum does a good job of transporting me from the busy streets of New York to a place and time much further distant.  On the first day of my visit back in October, I spent so much time in these rooms that I had to come back another day to see some of the other galleries.  

The artifacts intrigue me.  Things like the boat (above) with it's tiny little human figures; how did something so delicate survive to today.

And, these images to the left still have their original paint hanging on.

I can't help but wonder at the images I see.  Did the people actually wear those tall head pieces and did the men have those long chin-beards?

The artifacts seem to reveal that certain animals were revered by the people of the time.

The charms of this mysterious era will always appeal to me and I'm sure I will head in this direction every time I have an opportunity to visit the Met. 

If truth be told, I'll head toward these exhibits in all the great museums I visit.  I can't help myself.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

It's All About the View


On our very first night in New York City, my friends Julie and Dave took us to a very "cool" bar called Skylark.  It was just three blocks from our hotel and it's entrance was very nondescript.  Some might say it was a bit hidden.  But, when we entered the door, after having our vaccine status checked, we found ourselves in a long hallway that led to an elevator.  

The elevator whisked us up to the top floor where we met a hostess and we could see doors to many different rooms.  While our vaccine statuses were checked once again, I peeked into the pool room and saw these well dressed gentlemen playing a game with a spectacular skyline background around them.

After finding a table, we stepped out onto the wrap-around balcony to take in the view.

The balcony was surrounded by a high glass wall to keep it safe for people to explore.  You can see the edge of the glass in this photo to the left.

The view was stunning!  

That circle of light was a reflection of a light on the balcony.

We could look down and see the lights of Broadway and Times Square.

And, we had a fantastic view of the Empire State Building. 

The beautiful lights of the city were visible in every direction.  

I spotted the Hudson Yards building I wrote about a few weeks ago.  I knew I had dinner reservations there later in the week and looked forward to seeing the place.  I cropped this photo in a bit so you could see that triangular shaped sky walk and balcony.  

Three years ago when I saw this building under construction, I didn't think I'd ever walk out on that balcony when it was done.  But I did.  I posted about it here.

This was a fun place to go to start our week in New York.  I loved it!

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Egypt in New York


One thing that was a "must-see" on my New York list was to once again visit the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  

The Temple was a gift to the United States back in 1965 in recognition of the country's contribution to the campaign to save Nubian monuments and antiquities that would have been destroyed by the creation of the High Aswan Dam.

In 1967 President Lyndon Johnson awarded the temple to the Metropolitan Museum.  The museum then had to create a space specifically for it. That is when the Sackler Wing was built on the north side of the Museum.  The temple was reconstructed in the new wing between 1974 and 1978.

(It should be noted that in December of 2021, the Metropolitan Museum has removed the Sackler name from the museum because of the family's involvement in the opioid crisis.)

Everything about the temple fascinates me.  It is believed to have been built in 10 B.C.

During the 6th century it became a Christian Church. By the 19th century, it had become a destination for early tourists, explorers and artists.

In fact, some of those early tourists left their marks on the temple walls including one Luther Bradish (1783-1863) who became a future president of the New York Historical Society.  (😒He should have known better than to scratch his name on these ancient walls.)

Some of the original carvings on the side of the temple are only faintly visible so the museum has projected light on the wall to show what those carvings would have looked like with the painted finish.  

I'm very happy that I got to visit this ancient temple once again.  As in past visits, it was a highlight of my trip to New York.  

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Kandinsky at the Guggenheim


When I was in New York last October, I once again made a trip to the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum this time to see an exhibition of artworks by Vasily Kandinsky, one of my favorite abstract artists.

You might remember that the last time I visited this museum, I saw an exhibit of paintings by Hilma af Kint an abstract artist I had never heard of before.  She was painting as early as 1906 and Kandinsky began his art some 20 years later.

Kandinsky was born in Russia and raised in Odessa.  He went to law school studying law and economics and became successful in his career.  At the age of 30 he began studying painting, drawing and other art forms.  In 1896 he moved to Munich and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts.

He moved back to Moscow in 1914 returning to Germany in 1920 where he taught at the Bauhaus School of Art and Architecture which is where he met Solomon Guggenheim.  

Guggenheim purchased "Composition 8" in 1930 during his first meeting with Kandinsky.  Guggenheim would go on to be the artist's greatest patron, acquiring a considerable number of his works.  This composition is one of my favorite works of art.

I had not seen this painting before and it has now been added to my favorites list too.  I love this one called "Around the Circle" painted in 1940.  It is said that this painting reflects his abiding interest in the belief systems and folklore of Russian and Siberian cultures.   I see similarities to some Native American Art which I find fascinating.  

So, once again another trip to an architecturally amazing museum to see some equally amazing and incredible works of art.  It makes me thankful that I got to go to New York once again.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Favorite Iconic London Spots


Today's group of favorite London photos are all about the iconic London scenes.  The places most people are familiar with and love.  First up, St. Paul's Cathedral.  I actually saw Prince Charles exiting this church on one of my trips to London.  That was a complete surprise.

This is a place that tourists can't visit but it's position on the south bank of the River Thames makes it stand out.  It of course has also been seen in a number of movies and was actually famously blown up in a James Bond movie.  MI-5 is headquartered here.

Royal Albert Hall is another famous London building.  I saw the London Philharmonic Orchestra play here on one of my trips.  Visitors should always check the schedule to see if something interesting is playing.

One of the best views of Parliament can be seen from the London Eye, that giant Ferris wheel just across the river.  The view from the eye is spectacular.

I also got a good shot of Big Ben with the London Eye in the background.  

I never go to London without visiting the Fortnum & Mason store on Piccadilly Street.  I've brought many goodies home from this iconic London store.  

A collection of London's iconic scenes would not be complete without some red phone boxes.  One great place to photograph them is on the back side of the Royal Courts of Justice where you will find these four waiting for photographers to take aim.

This last photo was taken from the observation deck at the Tate Modern Museum.  I'm looking east toward one of London's newest iconic buildings, The Shard.  I have not been up in this building yet.  It is on my list for a next visit.  From this height, you can see past The Shard and all the way to the high rise buildings at Canary Wharf.