Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday off: Morandi, Master of Moulins, the Met
The Morandi show at the Metropolitan Museum was one of those must-sees that I was about to miss, with the holidays coming and my attention dates being what it is. So I took Friday OFF from work, and headed across town to the Met. It's partly under construction, very gussied up, and the floorplan is mystifying, and I thought when I got there that Elaine Konigsberg would hardly recognize the place any more. But at last I found the exhibit and got lost in Morandi's serene, small, domestic landscapes for a while. I learned to my shame there is a Museo Morandi in Bologna that I have never visited. Sometimes, the Met just makes me feel bad.
When that happens, I follow my nose and it always takes me to the paintings I love: the works of the Northern Renaissance. And is it any wonder why? The one above is by "the Master of Moulins" -- one of those painters about whom there was so little known that he didn't even have a name for a long time (though he's now identified as "Jean Hey").
The whole little Northern Renaissance room looks like an exhibit of children's book jackets and interiors. Here a Catherine, Called Birdy. There a Rapunzel. Every so often a graphic novel. I love that you can tell the story just by looking at the picture. I love how direct the gazes are, how ordinary the lives. There are symbols to be decoded, little visual narratives within the narratives. All so flat and easy to read.
Refreshed and hopeful, I went out into the glorious autumn day. And went to see Synecdoche, New York -- which is a story for another day.