The of Triumph of Fame over Death

Loved this team of elephants pulling the cart

Loved this team of elephants pulling the cart

This South Netherlandish tapestry is on view in Gallery 305 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. What attracted me was the pair of white elephants. The theme is from Petrarch’s I Trionfi (The Triumphs) and Louis XII commissioned a series of tapestries after the work was translated into French. This particular one has been cut down and was from a series most likely created for Bishop Symphorien de Bullioud of Soissons, a man familiar with Italian culture from trips to Milan and Rome.

The figures include Alexander the Great and Charlemagne – both sporting symbols of the French kings including Charlemagne’s fleur-de-lys and Alexander’s scepter. Plato and Aristotle stand with them. And the women being trampled by the elephants? Death. Hope that should I ever meet white elephants that would not be my fate.

Advertisements

Dürer and Callahan at the MFA

 

 There are two recent exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts that you should check out. The Albrecht Dürer exhibit highlights his intensely detailed prints including engravings, woodcuts, etchings and drypoints. These are all choosen from the MFA’s own collection.  He was a vituoso draftsman and if you are not familiar with his work, the 45 prints that have been selected are a wonderful introduction to this German Renaissance artist.

http://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/albrecht-dürer

The second exhibit is in the room adjacent to the Dürer show – Harry Callahan is a talented American photographer, who worked in the the mid-20th century. The photographs are in both color and black and white and Callahan’s wife Eleanor is the subject of many of the works. I particularly enjoyed the images of trees and shadows.

  
Be sure to note Callahan’s color portrait of a woman entitled “Chicago” and Dürer’s engravings of women – the likeness is quite striking not only in the facial similarities of the women but in their head gear as well.

These tough economic times have stalled  many expensive loan exhibits and collaborations with distant museums, but the upside is the opportunity museums have to display treasures from their own collections.