Monday, March 25, 2013
By now, you should know that I’m a certified crazy cat lady. If my kitty was not a diva, I’d probably have a gaggle of fuzzballs at home.
So it should come as no surprise that I probably took as many, if not more, photos feline friends in Istanbul as architectural monuments. Seriously, I could not get over the cute.
This comes as a part two to my first post of Istanbullu furbuckets. Maybe I should have a whole site dedicated to all of the cats I come across in my travels…
This guy was keeping tabs on the pieces in the garden at the archaeology museum.
Tabby here was patrolling the wall connecting the archaeology museum’s property to Topkapi Palace.
Tortie shop guard in Galata.
This ginger kitten posed regally in a rose garden in Gulhane Park.
Calico cat watched the world go by in front of a mosque in Uskadar.
This kitten was TINY. Maybe the size of my hand.
I could honestly go back to Istanbul tomorrow just to see the cats. Have adorable travel cat photos? I’d love to see them or feature them on Saturday Snapshot.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Today’s snapshot is the view of the Boyne Valley and area around Slane from Newgrange in Co. Meath. When you’re standing here, you can feel the ancientness of the area.
Friday, March 22, 2013
This week’s focus is symbols, which made me excited since medieval art history is ALL about symbols.
Now, I get it. If you’re not Christian, or even Catholic, a lot of Western art can look weird or boring if you don’t know the symbols involved. Ancient Roman art can get even more complicated if you’re not familiar with the symbols represented by the pose of an equestrian statue or the way a person’s hands are posed or you didn’t take Latin and have no idea what the acronym stands for.
That’s why art history is SO helpful when traveling. You often have some insider knowledge that doesn’t require a guide or key to help unlock the meanings. I may not be rolling in cash with my major of choice, but I feel like I GET more things when I travel.
Sagrada Familia is one giant symbol.
Take this cabochon inside La Sagrada Familia. The four evangelists (the four gospel authors: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) each have a symbol attached to them so that any person in late Roman/medieval Europe could tell who they were regardless of their language or reading ability. Matthew is always a man or a winged man holding a book. His gospel focuses on the human side of Jesus, thus the symbol as a man.
Ding, ding, ding! You have a Barberini!
Another handy symbol list are papal seals. Again, in the land of illiterate masses, symbols were the easiest way to make sure EVERYONE got the memo. Papal seals are like heraldic shields, you can tell who it is based on the symbols incorporated in the image. Three bees are the giveaway for a Barberini. If you see bees in anything art-related in Rome, it was paid for by a Barberini. This one is seal inside St. Peter’s. If you look at the Baldachinno (that giant canopy over the seat in the center of the church), you can see bees carved into the spiral columns.
Art historians and archaeologists got nothing here.
Of course, we still don’t understand A TON of symbols. The stones placed in front of Newgrange? No one really knows what they meant. Or the carved shapes next to the entrance? Got nothing. Some think it’s a map of the valley with Knowth and Dowth, or a spell, or a story. Which just adds to how cool Newgrange is in general.
What’s #FriFotos? It’s a weekly Twitter event, with a different theme each week, founded by @EpsteinTravels where people from all over the world share their favorite pics. Search #FriFotos on Twitter to see everyone’s submissions.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Internationale Hygiene-Ausstellung Dresden (International Health Exposition, Dresden), Franz von Stuck, 1911. If I had that eye staring at me, I’d floss 50 times a day.
Living in Cambridge, I am spoiled for choice when it comes to art. There’s street art in Central and Harvard Squares, along the Rose Kennedy Greenway (in conjunction with an exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art), tons of galleries, and lots of museums.
With street art and tagging being a perpetual favorite among many photographers and travelers, I was intrigued by a current exhibit at the Museum of Fine Art. They pulled 40 prints from their collection of over 2000 that highlight early 20th century poster art. Posters brought art from inside mansions and museums out to the street to be appreciated by all.
I always enjoy seeing posters in museums because they were commercial objects as well as art. They stand out from paintings and decorative art that often were private objects seen by few. These were meant to be seen by many.
Valvo/ Radio Scheuchzer, Basel, 1931, Niklaus Stoecklin
“Binaca” by Niklaus Stoecklin.
My favorite pieces were not the usual Art Deco or Art Nouveau. They were the Swiss “object posters”. These posters got rid of all text to highlight just the product. No dumb catchphrase or clever quip. Like a WWII era Instagram, the object tells its own story. Take the Bianca Toothpaste poster. It’s just three objects on a black field. No words, no foamy teeth. By paring down the image, the toothpaste and toothbrush look like objects of fine art on a pedestal. Out of context, you can focus on the design and lines of the toothpaste instead of analyzing someone’s horrific taste in bathroom decor or rolling your eyes at a jingle.
Bialetti’s Moka Pot meets revolver.
The same holds true for the simple, pared down objects that you often see in street art, like the Bialetti Mokapot turned revolver in Montreal. A single image with simple colors and no words speaks far more to me than rows and rows of words or 90 billion busy colors.
The exhibition is on view through July 21, 2013, www.mfa.org.
All photos are my own.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
View of the round tower at Glendalough through the trees.