December 27, 2001
We began our tour in the Susan Moore Hilles Gallery. It is a temporary gallery set up for the Italian and Spanish paintings. You are greeted by a large Zurbaran painting of St Serapion. He was martyred for teaching Christianity to the Moslems and yet his robe is spotless, you can see he is hanging by his wrists but his face is peaceful. It is a disturbing picture.
This gallery has some wonderful paintings set on light blue walls with great lighting. You will see work by Tintoretto, Bassano, Murillo and Caravaggio. Also some fine examples of Meissen porcelain. There are two views of Venice, one by Canaletto and one by Guardi and a beautiful country scene by Canaletto's nephew Bellotto.T
After this room you would imagine that the rest of the museum would pale, you would be wrong. From here we went to the fountain courtyard where there are some paintings lining the courtyard. There are 2 by Edvard Munch that are interesting.
Off the courtyard is a room dedicated to Alexander Calder. There are several of his sculptures here including the large one outside the museum entitled Stegosaurus. A small model of stagosaurus is in the Calder room.
I was enthralled with a Salvatore Dali oil called 'Solitude". It is a very muted painting of a man walking alone, across the painting is a boat with 2 children sitting in it that appears stranded in the sand and in the background a very ethereal woman seems to float. The only color is a broken vase in the foreground. Very thought provoking.
The furniture collections here are outstanding. There is several rooms of Pilgrim furniture. Chests, tables and chairs from the 17th century in New England. Some of them have original paint on them, amazing. What really suprised me was the detail on the wood. I expected the furniture of the Pilgrims to be plain and unadorned. I was wrong. The carving is beautiful and the legs have wonderful turnings. There are items made of red oak, white pine and ash.
Back to the art, there is a whole wall of Peale family paintings. There are 3 still life paintings and 3 portraits. There are several rooms of American landscape paintings with Niagara Falls as a favorite subject.
The John Singer Sargent portrait of Ruth Sears Bacon is a lovely painting of a lovely child.
For me the Lucas Cranach of the Feast of Herod is a favorite. If you know any of his works you will recognize Salome as the leering wife with the elderly husband in another of his paintings.
Entrance $10 Hours: Tuesday- Friday 11am-5pmSaturday &; Sunday 10-5First Thursday til 8pm
From journal Hartford Ct. Home to Harriet, Hooker and Handguns