Come Away ~ St. Petersburg

I know, I know ~ it’s just been a week since our last imaginary escape, but really, what’s the harm?  Real travel, imaginary travel; both expand our worlds. Tell you what, I won’t tell your psychiatrist if you won’t tell mine.  How about a little trip to St. Petersburg?  To winter palaces, gilded domes, opera length fur coats and tree lined, snow dusted boulevards?  This isn’t twenty first century Russia, this is the Imperial Russia of Tsar Peter the Great, in all it’s golden and winter white baroque splendor. Continue reading “Come Away ~ St. Petersburg”

An Armoured Dress…

Because who knows what the day may bring?

amoured dressThis plastic dress sculpture, which looks every bit 17th century original, was part of a 2003 special exhibition of the Styrian Armoury in Graz, Austria.  The Armoury holds approximately 32,000 pieces of historical weaponry, tools and suits of armour for battle and parades. The dress itself isn’t historical or wearable, but rather a modern statement piece amidst the armoury’s fascinating collection.

The designers behind the exhibition, Esther Geremus and Birgit Hutter, presented gowns from four historical periods: Renaissance, Rococo, Baroque and present day, and four periods of women’s lives; girlhood, marriage, pregnancy and old age.  The gowns were  scattered amongst the armoury’s four floors; the colourful delicate fabric of some the gowns softening and contrasting the tales of war and death emanating from the armour.  The overarching point of the exhibition however, was that whether we clothe our outer selves in metal or silk, we are all still vulnerable people.

I especially appreciate the combination of historical artefact and modern art creating new meaning.  More pics and info about the iron maiden gown and the fascinating “Rock und Rüstung” (translated: “Skirt and Armor”) exhibition here.  It’s well worth popping over for a look.

Brunch in Berlin…

“One can not think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.”                              Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

I’ve been away recently to Berlin on an Art and Culture Tour.  Dining well was certainly part of it.  This was my favourite brunch in the gorgeously baroque styled Bode Museum Cafe on Museum Island. Just off to the left of my table was the book store.  Does it get any better?

Restored Michelangelo!

The Guardian has a great article on the twenty year restoration of a nearly destroyed Michelangelo sculpture of a young John the Baptist.  The piece is likely to have been created around 1495 and is one of the few surviving Michelangelo’s outside of Italy.  Sadly, the statue was smashed and burned during the Spanish Civil War.  Fragments of the sculpture; a handful of curls, a forearm, have been held in a Ubeda museum since 1936, awaiting developments in restoration technology.

-sanju.JPG de Externa ABC

Italy’s Opificio delle Pietre Dure, one of the world’s leading art restorers, used various photographs and written accounts of the sculpture to create a digital 3D image of the original sculpture.  The missing pieces were recreated out of fibreglass and stucco, then recombined with the originals. The restoration process lasted 19 years, with more than 40% of the original piece needing to be rebuilt.

Prado museum director, Miguel Zugaza, called it a historic restoration and pointed to its political undertones. As well as being a tale of pioneering artistic accomplishment, he says the restoration is also a scathing commentary on iconoclasm and those who destroy priceless artefacts for political gains, such as the recent actions of Islamic State militants in Mosul’s central museum.  “We want this to be a social criticism against all the barbaric actions by iconoclasts that sadly continue to occur around the world,” he said.”

michelangelo 2

As an art history geek, I’m a little awed.  If you happen to be in Spain, the Young Saint John the Baptist will be on display at Museo del Prado in Madrid until June 28.

Sunday in Town…

Staying in Vancouver this week, touring galleries, museums and taking some art classes.  This afternoon I’m heading to the Burnaby Art Gallery on Deer Lake.  The Gallery is housed in the historic Ceperley House, built in 1911.

Originally owned by the Ceperley family, it’s also been home to a group of Benedictine Monks, a student frat house and an orphanage run by a criminal cult called The Temple of the More Abundant Life.

I grew up walking distance from Deer Lake and didn’t even know this place existed.  When I was a teenager, I knew Deer Lake as the summer drunken party hot spot.  Now it’s a little hub of culture,  speculated hauntings and history.  Sometimes you have to leave a place and return, to fully appreciate it.