Monday, October 29, 2012

Visiting New York

I've just gotten back from a whirlwind of travel for various reasons: the first of them being a conference I presented a paper at in New York City at the School of Visual Art's annual conference on the Humanities and the teaching of artists.  I was on a great panel, we had great audience feedback and discussion, AND I got to go to visit my favorite museum, The Cloisters.

The Cloisters is a medieval reconstruction of several buildings from 12th-15th century.  It houses a medieval art collection, and two of my favorite artworks reside there - the whole of the Unicorn Tapestry series:

All seven tapestries hang in this room (sorry the picture is so dark and blurred).  Here's a decent shot of the most well-known of the seven, the Unicorn in Captivity:
Besides the Unicorn Tapestries, the Cloisters also is home to the Merode Altarpiece - also known as The Virgin and the Mousetrap by Robert Campin, the Master of Flemalle.

Several reasons to love this -- the carpenter Joseph in his workshop making the most mundane of household objects, a mousetrap,and the central panel of Mary reading a book, which is one of my favorite activities, too!
What's not to love about her chubby neck, seen as a sign of beauty in that era?
What I was really looking forward to was seeing the gardens - I wish I could visit in summer, but it was a lovely weekend in New York, it was 75 degrees in October, and although it rained in the morning, it was nice for me to step into the gardens.
This is the Bonnefont Garden, where kitchen plants and a variety of interesting plants of lore live.

I loved the set branches all dark and gnarled.
The woven wattling as fence.
 The view of the river beyond.
There are a number of plants in the "Magic Plants" garden - you can read about them here.
I believe this is a pear - espaliered.  

I love the building - lots of wonderful vistas, corners to peek around, and lots of  beautiful medieval works of art.  

 Illuminated manuscripts, statuary, jewelry and funerary pieces.  I love the raw emotive power of the medieval period, often called "the dark ages", but to me, it's a real bright jewel.

One of these days, I'd love to visit on a sunny, warm day so I can visit the enclosed garden - closed off during the winter.

In home-related news, yesterday we picked up 8 sago palm pups free off Craigslist.  We trimmed the fronts that were already grown, and are giving them a week to harden off before getting them potted and rooted.  Dale's been wanting one of these for ages, so he's pleased to have so many to get started.

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