Monday, February 22, 2010

Sometimes You Just Have to Let Art Flow Over You . . .

As part of our whirlwind tour of the museums in Boston, we visited the Museum of Fine Arts on Sunday.

The Museum of Fine Arts ("MFA") opened on July 4, 1876.  It was originally located in Boston's Copley Square and moved to its current location on Huntington Avenue in 1909.  It is one of largest art museums in the world, with over 400,000 works of art.  Both contemporary and classic artists are represented, along with numerous special exhibits that change several times a year.

One of the most interesting parts of the MFA is the architecture of the buildings. The first location of the original MFA was in Copley Square. A building designed by John Sturgis and Charles Brigham, it was a red brick structure in the Gothic revival style, which was completed in 1876, with additions being added in 1879 and 1890 to house the growing collection of artifacts.  By the end of the 1800s, the Copley Square museum building could no longer house the growing collection of art; a new location for the MFA had to be found.  The site in Copley Square now houses The Copley Plaza Hotel.

The MFA's current location on Huntington Avenue was chosen.  The original building at the current location was designed by architect Guy Lowell, who created a design that could be added upon as the needs of the MFA grew. The first section of  was completed in 1909; it is the part of the building that now faces Huntington Avenue, and features a grand rotunda and exhibition galleries.

Over the years, many other additions have been added to the MFA, including new visitor center, enhanced entrances and additional exhibition spaces.  There is currently a large wing being built which is due to open in the Fall of 2010.

One could lose themselves for hours walking through the various collections in the different wings.  As a parent, I found the MFA rather unfriendly toward children.  My children are 11 and 8 and are well behaved.  They have visited many museums and historic locations and know how to act in these places.  I felt that we had a museum staffer stalking us in every room; I have never felt so unwelcome in a museum.  At one point I was confronted after taking a photo.  I had made a point of asking a security guard what could be photographed, as it was not mentioned in the map that we were given and I usually take many pictures.  He told me that any area that was labeled in pink was off limits to photography.  Minutes later when I took a photo, a museum employee came running up to me and reprimanded me.  Taken aback, I told him what the other guard had said.  He chose not to acknowledge what I said, and walked away (I should have taken his picture just to annoy him).  Again - not a very welcoming place!

One of the interesting parts of the MFA are the large baby head sculptures that are located near the entrance on the Fenway.  These unique works of art by Spanish artist Antonio López García were installed on the MFA grounds in April of 2008.   Note the photo is of the baby head sculpture only - my sons thought it was creepy and wouldn't even stand next to it!

The MFA offers free admission to children 7-17 on weekdays after 3:00 PM, weekends, and public school holidays, along with admission to all with a voluntary contribution ($20.00 is suggested) on Wednesday nights after 4:00 PM.

P.S. - No more cheesy movie lines for my entry titles - two is enough!  Do you recognize this line?  It is from one of my favorite movies, which was filmed in one of my favorite places, Beaufort, SC!

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