I found God at the Museum of Fine Arts
I'm not a religious man, but I took a class this past semester called Christian Ways of Life.
I still had my ethics requirement to fill before I could graduate, and being interested in history and the general knowledge learning that a liberal arts college is designed for, I figured I could go worse than to pick a class with a professor I'd heard rave reviews about, about religion. Specifically, Christianity; a subject I'd spent a lot of time knocking without really knowing too much about it.
One of my biggest takeaways from the class was just how difficult it is to overstate Christianity's influence in global culture. Far more than any country, state, or cultural movement, Christianity has been around for so long, and has been so proliferated across the globe that almost any and all cultural and political events, at least in some decently sized part, are coloured by religion.
Being raised in an atheistic household, in the surprisingly secular U.K., I never quite grasped just how much of the thousands of years of modern human history were affected by religion. Long story short, I fancied wandering around Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, and taking a look with new eyes at the European religious artwork, to see these spectacular pieces that people made out of devotion to their faith.
While on my winter break from college, I took an afternoon to pursue the MFA with camera in hand (it's not just pretty artwork. The building is gorgeously designed.)
The museum's lobby was all gussied up for Christmas.
There was also this tree, by Seattle glassblowing artist, Dale Chihuly. Lia and I visited the Chihuly museum, near the Space Needle, the first time we went to Seattle. I imagine we had similar looks on our faces while walking around as the kid I saw seeing this giant green structure for the first time, mouth agape and just generally awestruck.
An obligatory photo of this reflecty piece. I didn't write down who any of the art was by, by the way, so you'll just have to go and visit for yourself.
Starting small, the artist behind this painting decided he'd found the Garden of Eden at a national park in the West of America. Having been to some of America's national park (here, here, and here) I can't say I disagree.
This piece in pride of place on the wall was a rendering of Adam and Eve being kicked out of the bright, sunny Garden of Eden, and cast out into the dark, harsh world.
This Spanish depiction of Christ in the Coburn Chapel Gallery was one of my favourites I saw. I'd brought my headphones, and was listening to the gospel-tinged How Great by Chance the Rapper as I observed religious artwork. It was all very impressive. Not quite a come to Jesus moment, but an appreciative moment of the artwork that people who came to Jesus gave us.
This was the best piece I found on my religious artwork pilgrimage to the museum. It was by a British artist, John Martin, and painted in the early 1800's. It shows the story of Moses calling down God's wrath on the Egyptians to free the Israelites. For just a second, in the bright white strip, I thought I might be able to see a power in the universe that I'd never previously considered. God, if you will.
Then I stopped being so introspective and waxing philosophical, and just enjoyed the rest of the artwork the museum had on offer. I personally love the Ancient stuff, the Roman and Greek works.
The museum had dedicated a whole room to Monet paintings, which I found a new appreciation for.
Naturally, I was drawn to the teapots.
Art imitates life, which imitates art, which imitates life, which...
And stained glass was neat too.
Bit of an odd post this, I'll admit. Basically, I went to the museum and took a bunch of photos I wanted to share, and while I thought my day was very interesting and enlightening, in writing this post I've realised it all sounds a bit pretentious. Thank goodness nobody reads this.