Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

We had a great time at the MFA. We went to see the Egyptian exhibition and it was amazing but a school group arrived at the same time we did and then another visitor got a bit tooshy about the kids making a little noise. Well, not confrontationally tooshy, just embittered middle-aged man tooshy. He yanked irritably on his turtle neck, clutched his programme tightly, rolled his eyes and muttered 'Jesus Christ' in a stage whisper. My Duyvken, who is not the shy retiring type, suggested that he could be a little more tolerant of other visitors pointing out that everyone is welcome to visit a gallery.
I do love that man!
Anyway, we quickly shuffled the children through that part of the museum and spent the rest of the visit exploring the permanent exhibitions and then the cafeteria. The eye-roller was not seen again and we all had a great time. The kids were in heaven, picking pictures that they liked best, commenting on the sculptures and enjoying the quirky mobiles and photo galleries that are part of this wonderful space.
The older three all chose a favourite painting and we were able to find a postcard of each of their favourites at the gift shop.

G loved this painting byJohn Singer Sargent called The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882). She was very taken with the crisp white aprons, the older girls standing in the shadows and the youngest sitting with her doll on the rug. The large vase in the painting is also in the room that this painting is displayed in. The younger ones were not so impressed by this but it opened the painting up for G.
J's favourite painting was selected because of the use of his favourite colour, yellow. He is heavily committed to yellow and it is not as easy to find in a gallery as you might expect. We searched high and low, finding a lot of ochre, gold, lemon, warm wood and sunlit tones but nothing that was truly yellow until we came across this Arthur Dove painting. It's called That Red One (1944).
C's favourite painting was somewhat unexpected. Watson and the Shark was painted in 1778 by John Singleton Copley and tells the story of Brook Watson who lost his leg in a shark attack in Havana Harbour. He later served a term as Lord Mayor of London and commissioned Copley to paint this piece. The one that we saw at the MFA is a copy that Copley made for himself.
C was completely taken in by this painting - worried for the boy, pleased that the crew in the boat were there to save him, hopeful that the doctors would be able to fix his leg and in awe of the scary looking shark at the bottom of the frame. She was eye to eye with that shark (as all 3 year olds who visit must be) and I think that's what really captured her imagination. She took me back to see it a couple of times and then really wanted to show Oma as well. She was delighted to be able to bring home a postcard of it and we're going to tack it to the wall next to her bed. Sure, some girls are all about princesses... C has her own ideas about what she wants to see before she falls asleep :-)


Mary said…
I absolutely love the kids' choices ... and the memories of that museum will be with them for a long time now
Julia said…
I grew up visiting Watson and the Shark in the Smithsonian once a year when we were kids. My sister and I would scoot over to it first to make sure it was still there in all its grit and glory, and then go see what was new in the exhibitions. The Sargent painting I also loved, but I don't remember where I saw it first. Very neat to hear that they are both in Boston now!
sophie said…
what an awesome day out. i took my girls to the powerhouse and they also had fun choosing a special picture to take home. kids really do 'get' art!
Jen said…
I'm with G. That Sargent is one of my favorite paintings of all times.
Lynn said…
So glad that the meany-pants museum-goer didn't put a damper on your day. And how wonderful that everyone found their own special paintings!

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