Monday, November 15, 2004

Weekend fun: Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Amidst the general chaos of our household, we did manage to get out on Sunday afternoon. Destination - Brooklyn Museum of Art. I have not been to this museum in ages. The renovated plaza in front is gorgeous, and fits in very nicely with the neo-classical old facade that still towers of it. Took Dear Daughter to see an exhibition of Sargent children's portraits. She liked it. As did I.

Somehow I got a strong impression that were Sargent working today, photography would have been his medium. Despite the often impressionist palette and loose brush work, the poses and expressions of the sitters, something I think was key to the artist, are probably easier to capture with a camera than a brush. In this case "easier" refers not to the technique per se, but the ability to capture the desired expression showcasing artist's intent. Even photographing children (adults too, but especially children) is hard work in terms of setting up the shot. How much harder must it have been to have the children sit for hours with minimal movement?

On additional note of kudos to the museum, I have to mention the excellent annotations to all the portraits. In a move I have not seen before, the curatorial staff put short biographies of the sitters next to each work. This extra bit of information provided an interesting backdrop to evaluate and reevaluate one's impressions of the works. When viewing portraits I often find myself project the visual impression into the biographical domain. What was this person's life like? What was s/he like? What awaits this boy? [ed - Death in the trenches of WWI, as it happens. ] The notes were, in my estimation, non-intrusive and informative. This is one curatorial addition I would like to see more often.

I highly recommend seeing the show. The museum itself is very nice, with cheap parking ($5 or so for 2 hours) and a few gorgeous parks nearby - Prospect Park & Botanical Gardens - being just two of them.


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