Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Lorax Visits the Smithsonian

One more photo from last week when we were visiting Washington and Fairfax.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Samuel F.B. Morse at the Louvre

Last week in Washington, we saw a little-known painting by Samuel F.B. Morse. He's well known for the telegraph and Morse code, little known for his early-life career as a painter.

Morse's huge oil painting "Gallery of the Louvre," which he painted during a visit to Europe from 1829-1832, is temporarily on view in the National Gallery of Art. In it he arranged an imaginative view of the works he most valued at the Louvre. He placed them to be of use to students, and painted some of his friends and his daughter in the room where he imagined them.

The National Gallery has hung Morse's work in a large hallway in the center of the museum, along with a very interesting explanation -- and a key to the works. I recognized many of them, but the key is very useful. Above you can see his arrangement of Mona Lisa -- below is Len's photo of the work as we saw it.

Morse based the work on many prior paintings that made a similar collage-like assembly of copies from a single museum's collection. He based his choice of paintings on his own taste and that of his contemporaries. He hoped this work would bring him fame and money, as he planned to exhibit it on a tour of the US. That didn't go as well as he hoped, so he turned to technology and became famous.

For more detail about Morse's paintings and the Louvre's collected works he included, see this website.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Skaters at the National Gallery of Art

Skating at the National Gallery rink -- Miriam, Alice, and Evelyn, 2012.

"Winter Landscape with Skaters" (detail) by Adam van Breen, 1611.
Inside the National Gallery.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Morocco, London, and the High Seas

"TinTin" begins in London, where he's a reporter. His exciting adventures take place on the high seas, in an old crumbling English-country manor house, lost in the Sahara, and in a seaside city in Morocco. Quite a bit of travel!

The visuals in "TinTin" were great. Sometimes they closely followed what you see in a cartoon, sometimes departed from that. I thought they very effectively combined realism with parody. Some of the people in the film were nearly caricatures -- an opera singer, a drunken ship captain, an evil villain, a Scotland Yard team, TinTin himself, with his quiff, and most of the minor characters. Some characters at times were quite realistic like TinTin when he's making a plan, the Sultan of Morocco, Snowy the dog or a camel in the port town. Some characters started out realistic and suddenly and enjoyably switched to something unexpected. The net result: an exciting and fun to watch experience.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Traveling Again

Fairfax, Virginia, on a beautiful sunny day in January: the shadows seem very long for the early afternoon. We walked around a small lake surrounded by houses and apartment buildings, but with just enough woods to be very pleasant.

Here's Alice: