Thursday, January 08, 2009

Photos at the Museum

THE BASEMENT OF the Saint Louis Art Museum is, for me, the most interesting part of the building. Containing mainly what are called 'decorative arts', this floor contains objects of art that date from a time or state of mind where utility and æsthetics were happily married and living in beautiful harmony. On the museum's main floor, the conceits of the Renaissance are apparent, with each spouse bickering for their freedom and rights.

I usually avoid the museum's top floor, where (so to speak) æsthetics has completed an angry, bitter divorce from her spouse utility, and where she pretends that she is happy with her hollow freedom, while also trying to convince herself (and us) that she is still young and beautiful. Her cold, heartless ex-husband utility is enjoying his freedom by manufacturing generic pre-fabricated buildings at the lowest possible cost.

So in the basement I remain, surrounded by the decorative arts, which are children of a happy marriage. Besides Western European and American decorative arts, the basement also contains art from Egypt, sub-Saharan Africa, and Oceania, which also embody this same spirit of harmony.

In the basement you can also find an excellent gift shop and café, both well worth patronizing.

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - ceramic squirrel

A ceramic squirrel bottle.

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - carriage clock

Carriage clock: Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ — The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - romantic painting of a young lady

A charming depiction of femininity, nearly lost in our age.

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Mediaeval tomb cover

Tomb cover of Ulrich and Elisabeth von Erbach.

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - suits of armor

Chivalry, at its best, adhered to the command "Love your enemies", and cared for honor more than victory. Chronicles often show bitter enemies becoming friends due to honorable conduct during warfare.

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - helm

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - chain mail

Chain mail. This had to be cleaned by rolling it around in a barrel full of sand or oily sawdust.

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - pikes

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - pikes 2

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - pistols

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - firearms

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - crossbow

A crossbow and a crank used for pulling the bow back.

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - daggers

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - mummy

The museum has several Egyptian mummies.  Requiescant in pace.

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Egyptian statue

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Egyptian cat

These are just crude snapshots, but I hope you enjoyed them!

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