After our Saturday excursion to Boston a couple weeks ago, I had the desire to return in order to explore the Museum of Fine Arts. Audrey and I took the Peter Pan Bus line into Boston in the morning and spent several seemingly short hours exploring the four floors and confusing corridors of the museum. The museum is over 600,000 square feet in size which amounts to more than six Costco buildings put together! In this massive building over 450,000 pieces of art are housed; however, not all these works are on display. The majority of the pieces are kept in storage and rotated through the museum. The museum is organized into sections to help navigate the chaos: Art of the Americas; Art of the Ancient World; Art of Asia, Oceania and Africa; Art of Europe; and Contemporary Art. The pieces on display are diverse and range from Egyptian sarcophaguses dating back to 3000 BC to Jackson Pollock’s drip painting Number 10 from 1949. As you continue reading this post I must apologize in advance for the large number of (slightly too dark) photographs, but I hope you enjoy them nonetheless!
The museum was pleasantly overwhelming. Everywhere I turned something new caught my eye. This was my first visit to a fine art museum, so I was like a kid in a candy shop. I could have spent a solid week there without getting bored! Numerous adults and school children were dotted throughout the exhibits sketching the paintings and sculptures white sitting on foldable stools. One man was actually using his tablet to paint! I thought this was quite ingenious since you need a special permit to painting supplies into the museum. It was quite fascinating to be able to look over peoples’ shoulders and see how they interpret the artwork before them. I was somewhat jealous as the university students in Boston get free admission to the museum. It would be such a treat to be able to spend hours sketching the work of master artists from real life! Since I have taken numerous courses in art history and have seen my fair share of art between book covers, it was an amazing privilege to see the textbook pages come to life! It is difficult to put into words the impact that art can have when viewing it in person. You see so much more than what a photograph allows….does an underpainting exist? how thick was the paint applied? what colour pigments were used?…the list goes on. The largest difference, however, was seeing the scale of the images. Some artworks were modest in size and no bigger than a sheet of paper while others dwarfed the viewers reaching ten feet in height!
Audrey and I thought we saw all of the rooms and floors, but the museum is so large that we have no idea if we ended up missing some sections. After getting lost through the maze of the museum, we rode the subway back to South Station. It was actually both of our first experience taking the subway, and I think it is safe to say that we managed it fairly well. We ended up walking through a small part of Boston and stumbled upon Chinatown where we ate a delicious Vietnamese dinner. After that we took an hour and a half bus ride back to Woods Hole. Since Audrey and I basically live in the woods, we needed to finish the night with a 20 minute bike ride back home in the dark. All in all it was a fantastic day, and I am truly thankful that we had the chance to return to Boston and see some handiwork from both ancient and recent past.