Category Archives: Art and architecture

Maillol

If one goes walking in the Paris’ Tuileries Gardens Close to the Louvre Museum one can see a collection of statues by the sculptor Aristede Maillol. The gardens boast 20 Maillol sculptures. The sculptures are strong monumental female nude figures. They were donated by Maillol’s last model and his muse,Dina Vierny.

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Stone Age structures

A visit to Ireland made me acutely aware of Stone age structures. These megalithic structures can be found all over Ireland. The most commonly seen of these giant stone structures are the great portal tombs. My first exposure to it was the great Brown Hill Dolmen. A simple structure with two support stones in front, a lower stone to close of the entrance and a massive rock to form a roof. Estimated to be more than 5 millinnia old, the structure takes your breath away. Simple, solid with a spiritual feeling to it one seldom experiences. The setting is breathtaking as well, situated on n hill overlooking the whole valley.

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Marino Marini, scupltor

I first saw Marino Marini’s work in front of the Peggy Guggenheim museum in Venice. It is a lovely sculpture of a boy on a horse, arms thrown open to welcome the world in a very positive attitude.The name of the sculpture is “the Angel of the City”. Great was my excitement when I read that there is a Marini museum dedicated to his art in Florance.

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Henry Moore Sculpture Garden, York

The contemporary sculptor I love most is undoubtedly Henry  Moore.  Whenever I travel to any major city in Europe I first find out where I can see the Henry Moore exhibited in that city. Great was my excitement when I had the chance to visit York and found that there is a Henry Moore Sculpture Garden.

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Brancusi museum, Paris

Of all the museums I visited, the Brancusi museum will always be one of my favorites. Situated in the heart of Paris on the square in front of the Pompidou Centre. This small museum is free, and although small, give a wonderful insight into the work of the sculptor. The workshop of the artist with its contents was left to the people of France by the artist. The whole artelier was reconstructed as it was when the artist died. One can still see the implements he worked with as well as a sleeping area. One almost expect him to walk in and start working.

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Sophy Grey Churches

I love small churches. Especially on quiet mornings. The atmosphere of sacredness, early morning sun through stained glass windows and beautiful woodwork, peace and  quiet. In the Western Cape, South Africa, I noticed a similarity and uniqueness in Anglican churches. I discovered a surprizing thing. All these  churches were designed by a Victorian lady, an amateur architect , Sophy Gray. In Victorian times no ladies were allowed in the professions. Yet lady Grey did an excelent job as an architect.

St George's in Knysna

Claremont church
Claremont church

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Modernism in Barcelona

Modernistic buildings in Barcelona

At the end of the nineteenth century the industrial revolution was in full swing in Europe. Industrialisation brought new building materials. Cement, steel and corrugated iron led to unimaginative, homogenic housing. Art and craft and good craftsmanship became less important. A new style developed, as a reaction to the boring buildings, known as Art Deco. In Barcelona it was known as Modernism. Buildings that were people friendly with excellent craftsmanship and decorated with unique tiling, mosaics, metalwork and sculpture became the norm for the new middle class evolving. Old style craftsmanship combined with new building materials and a new style of architecture changed the face of Barcelona. Architecture so innovating that today, a hundred years later, the style still is fresh and new.

 

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Museum of Architecture, Paris

If you stand in front of the Eiffel tower and look across the Seine you see a monumental building, the Trocadero. The wing on your right houses the museum of Architecture of Paris.

Replicas of parts of some of the finest cathedrals and monuments of France is housed inside. Yes, this is a museum of replicas. Detail of parts of buildings is painstakingly reproduced for research and restoration purposes. The end results ends up here. On first reading this I decided against visiting the museum. Who wants to see replicas if Europe is filled with the real thing?

Image to demonstrate loss of detail in a real (beautiful) cathedral.
Image to demonstrate loss of detail in a real (beautiful) cathedral.

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