Monday, October 12, 2015

Quick Post: Saints and Dragons

Lucy and I went to the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk yesterday to view an exhibit called "Saints and Dragons". Its subject is Icons and other religious art, and many of the pieces on display were of Russian origin. I'm a big admirer of religious art and architecture--a bit of a contradiction given my Atheist viewpoint, I know. Reason and rationality might (read "probably") have made for a better world than faith and dogma, but we'd be lacking in the products of that faith that surround us. Can you imagine a Notre Dame in a Paris built on Reason and practicality?

The exhibit was stunning; religious icons from all over the world (with an emphasis on Russia and the Balkans), along with the story of how these works of art are created and how they have been used for good and ill over the centuries.  I found the reportage to be rather subjective in nature--with events such as Josef Stalin stopping the Wehrmacht advance on Moscow by placing an icon in an airplane and flying it over the battlefield being classified as obvious "miracles" without taking into account details of the actual history of the defense of Russia's capitol--but the stories of the many saints (and the various literal and metaphorical dragons they are said to have faced) were entertaining and well-told. 
After walking through the exhibit we ate lunch at the Museum's cafe, which is actually a very nice little restaurant, and then explored the Impressionist galleries and a fun exhibit of outre imagery by Chinese  photographer and performance artist Tseng Kwong Chi.  This, of course, was only scratching the surface; like any serious museum of art it would take many afternoon visits to tour all the galleries and experience the wonderful range of human creativity.

So what are you waiting for?  If you aren't actually living in the Hampton Roads area, locate the nearest great art museum and get moving!

Tom and Lucy--Through the Looking Glass!

No comments:

Post a Comment