The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is an expansive collection of art and artifacts that p multiple cultures and historical periods, as well as art movements, from classical to modern. Since the focus of this class is Ancient Egypt through to the European Middle Ages these were the exhibits in which I was mostly interested during my visit. The museum itself has a much more broad focus, but there is a great deal of pieces that fit into the time periods of our course and it was fascinating to really see the cultural remnants of the people and historical periods which we are studying.
My visit was really interesting because of how incredible the collections of the museum were. There was interesting artwork from different cultures, like their Asian collection, and of course the more modern pieces that really brought to light the changes in movements in art throughout time. There was not a guided tour that I was able to participate in during my visit, but I was able to do a self-guided tour throughout most of the museum and found the entire building to be easy to navigate and beautiful to the eye.
The ancient art was the first stop on my tour of the museum because it is the first time period that we have studied. There was a lot of beautiful pieces found here, including pottery and other cultural items, but some of the artifacts were much more beautiful and elaborate. There was a beautiful coffin of Osiris, that really had a lot of elaborate detail that made it come alive as an artifact. For me, the other artifacts that emphasized the gods, including a of sculpture of the god Thoth as a baboon and other Greek and Roman artifacts that all deal with deities, were an important lesson in how important it was to these groups of people.
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For them, the stories of their gods and goddesses were as connected with them and their world as they were. They saw their deities in nature around them and in their own homes. That is why the gods are felt everywhere in their artwork and why their stories are so well depicted. This, like this course, has given me a greater understanding of how the beliefs of ancient peoples is connected to their culture in a way that cannot be ignored, it was such a great force in their lives.
The European exhibit was in two parts. There was the exhibit that dealt with Early Christian artwork, which transitioned from early to Renaissance and Baroque artwork. There is also another permanent exhibit called the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Collection. In these collections I was able to get another strong vision of what was important to the people who lived in the Middle Ages of Europe.
The Early Christian artwork was very interesting as it, like the ancient work before it, shows the importance of faith to artists during the time in which it was created. One of the prize works of these collections is an ivory statue of God the Father that was awe-inspiring in its simplicity and it’s beauty. There was also a gothic Virgin and Child sculpture that was created by Niclaus Weckman the Elder. Both of these items were beautiful and showed me how important the things we’re learning in this course are to our understanding of the past. It was fascinating to see what we have learned come to life in the sculpture, artifacts, and paintings found at this museum.
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