Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Boston: Gilded Splendor at the MFA

One of the nice parts of visiting a big city is the opportunity to view its local museum collections. Working in interiors, this usually means the chance to get some worldly inspiration from resources I normally wouldn’t draw on at home.


Although I have been to Boston before, it was my first time visiting the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). The museum has a host of awesome collections on a broad range of subjects, but I was most drawn to the European Renaissance paintings, gilded French antiques, painted porcelain, and Impressionist works.


The furniture on display is so meticulously detailed – I can only imagine the level of craftsmanship required to execute  all the marquetry, inlays, gilding and ormolu!


The rich hues from the historic European works reminded me of old world brocades and damasks with deep wines, royal blues, aubergine and gold- all with that amazing crackled patina of course!


In the Impressionist gallery, the bold yet tempered palette of the Van Gogh portrait and Renoir’s still life of flowers remind me of the boho-chic colours I’d see in furniture and accessories from Anthropologie.


The one painting I had to be a nerd for and pose in front of, was one of Monet’s many waterlillies. I was so drawn to the dreamy palette  of dusky violet, faded mint and blush pink and the frame itself is just gorgeous!  I would love to design a bedroom or ladies' dressing room in these soft feminine pastels.


My standout favourite from the whole museum though is this mid-1700s harpsichord by Henri Hemsch. Its stunning painted scenes of soft landscapes, geometric designs on the apron, sensuous cabriole legs, and tons of gilding make it more like a decorative piece of furniture, than a simple musical instrument. Any designer would be lucky to design a music room to house such a masterpiece!


PS- I also made a point to visit the The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which was very interesting but unfortunately did not allow any photos. There are interesting collections to be seen here as well, but my favourite part is the architecture itself with its dramatic central courtyard and beautiful foliage.

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