Recently, I was invited to a curatorial tour at the Boston (Museum of Fine Arts) MFA called, "A King's Ransom." There wasn't a lot of information about the event and I wasn't super excited about it, but I figured why not? I always learn something when I go on a tour. Well, I was not disappointed! The most excellent curator took us to see three royal collections.
The first was furniture and paintings from Versailles -- taken out of France by a member of the royal household who relocated to Boston. The curator mentioned that because of the French revolution, even Versailles doesn't have such a fine collection of authentic royal furniture!
Next, these beautiful porcelain animals were part of a giant menagerie that a German royal commissioned. At the time they were created, porcelain-artists did not know how to make color stick to porcelain. They would have been painted to look realistic in their time. That paint has long since disappeared. But the animals are wonderfully active and scale-wise they are ginormous -- a serious feat of engineering for modern methods let alone for classical ones!
Finally, royal German silver (and gold). Most of it has been lost over time because the metal was melted down for the next royals to create their own signature silver dishes and such. However these royals were so wealthy that this collection was simply moved into storage at a lesser used palace. (Nice life, right?!)
To be quite frank, I've walked past all three of these displays before without a lot of notice. I remember admiring some of the porcelain but neither of the other two displays really stands out. However, now that I've learned a bit more about them, I have additional appreciation for the workmanship, their magical survival, and their historical value.
Most museums offer education like this in many forms: classes, lectures, tours, audio guides, etc. I encourage you to take advantage of whatever your local museum offers! Even though this isn't really "my kind of art" it is still beautiful and stimulating. I'm glad to know more about it!
Something to think about, right?
Thanks for stopping by!