January 25, 2009

One of the Best Sights in Florence

Posted in museums at 12:49 pm by classicalmusic

The Palazzo Pitti of Firenze

Firenze (Florence) is my favorite Italian city.  In addition to its outstanding architecture, there is so much to see there that the two or three days, which tourists generally allow it, are only enough to catch a “feel” of the Florentine treasures.  One of my favorite places to wander about is the Palazzo Pitti.

Built on what was once the “wrong” side of the Arno, you approach it by crossing Firenze’s oldest and most beautiful bridge, the Ponte Vecchio.  The Pitti family who were rivals of the powerful Medici, built their palace on high ground overlooking the Arno to prove that they were loftier than the Medici.  They only lived there for a few years and the Palazzo was eventually bought by the Medici.  It is huge containing about 1000 rooms of all sizes, and it is not just one museum but a combination of five:  the Pitti Gallery, the Modern Art Gallery, the Silver Museum, the Royal Apartments and the Carriage Museum.  It holds artworks of some of the greatest painters of the Renaissance and beyond, including Titian, Tintoretto, Rubens, Van Dyke, Raphael, Veronese, Perogino and more.  And it also contains a lot of mediocre artwork.

If you tire of walking through the endless gallery rooms of the museums, you can go out throught the courtyard to the Boboli Gardens, one of the most imposing gardens in Italy with stately trees, fountains, a grotto and Neptune’s pond.  It is lovely, quiet and restful to walk through the area even going up the long hill to the Belvedere Fort, which the Medici built to use as a refuge in troubled times.  A delightful place to relax after viewing the Palazzo museums.

January 18, 2009

Musee Picasso in Paris

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 7:29 am by classicalmusic

When Pablo Picasso died in 1973, having lived most of his life in France, the French government inherited many of his works as payment of death taxes or duties. Some say that the government received the works as a family bequest. However they may have acquired them, the French used the works to establish the Musee Picasso in a large 17th century mansion called the Hotel Sale because it was built by a salt tax collector. The original mansion has been preserved and is a lovely building in its own right.

I am not a great Picasso lover, but for those who are, the museum is a must. The collection portrays the full scope of Picasso’s development, including his Blue, Pink and Cubist periods. What is also very interesting is that the museum houses some of Picasso’s own collections of artworks of other artists.

Not all of the collection is shown at one time so that you can go back many times and find paintings that you hadn’t seen before.

January 12, 2009

The Rubin Museum in Tel Aviv

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 7:15 am by classicalmusic

The House of Reuven Rubin
Already a well-known artist in his homeland of Rumania, Reuven Rubin immigrated to Israel (then Palestine) with the dream of painting in the old/new home of the Jews. He arrived in 1922 and went immediately to Jerusalem. But then he realized that the warm, bright colors he was really looking for were to be found in Tel Aviv, and in 1923 he made his home in Tel Aviv. What later became the “Rubin House” was built in 1930 for the Topelitz family. It is built in the strict Bauhaus style which was much sought after by Europeans. At first the Rubins rented the top (second floor), and later they bought the entire house. It has been theirs ever since.

At present, the Rubin paintings displayed on the first floor are all from the 1920’s. They depict scenes from the port of Jaffa, the sand dunes and first homes of Tel Aviv plus two self-portraits – one with his wife and the other of himself alone. All of the paintings show Rubin’s enchantment with the bright colors of a Mediterranean country as opposed to the darker colors he had been used to in Rumania. The paintings are in a very naive style reminiscent of the style of Henri Rousseau, but also imbuing the viewer with Rubin’s sense of hope and optimism in this new Jewish homeland.

January 4, 2009

A Great Place to Get Out of the Cold

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 1:24 pm by classicalmusic

The Fondation Bemberg
The Fondation Bemberg in Toulouse, France, is a private museum displaying a permanent collection of paintings, bronzes, furniture and other works of art. Most are from the Renaissance and the French Modern School. The Fondation is housed in one of Toulouse’s finest mansions built in 1555 for a wealthy merchant.

The museum is divided into 13 rooms, each one with its own main theme:
The Venetian Room, The Louis XVI Room, The Bindings Room (a small room with a wonderful display of royal books in superb bindings), The Fireplace Room, The European Room, The Portrait Gallery, The Coursiere Room, The Pointillist Room, The Fantin-Latour Room, The Fauve Room, The Impressionist Room, The Bonnard Room, and The Drawing Room.

It was really a wonderful place to spend two or three hours out of the cold gazing at some superb paintings by the Venetian Canaletto, the Italian Tintoretto, The German Cranach, and the French Fantin-Latour. Most impressive was the Bonnard Room with an unusual collection of 30 paintings by Pierre Bonnard. The Impressionist Room held a few enchanting Monet’s and several Gauguins, while the Drawing Room displayed several early Picassos, Degas, Toulouse-Lautred and Modigliani.

I was delighted to have found this lovely museum in Toulouse.