Feb. 28th, 2013

anotheranon: (craft)
...was the word of the weekend.

D. and I took our delayed trip to NYC last weekend, and it was good :)

It was my first time on the Vamoose bus, and I was fairly impressed. No cheap Greyhound this, there was free wi-fi, NY Times and bottled water. I did get a little headachey towards the end because of jolting, but it's worth it not to have to haul a car up to NYC.

First stop was the Spanish Institute Fortuny retrospective. Oh... oh my. Sometimes I forget how astonishing these gowns are when I have only my books for reference, only to see the real deal again and be reminded of the layers of color and detail inherent in the three-dimensional piece. Pieces such as these could not be made now, as each piece required so much individual handling to make it into the work of art it is.

Most of the dresses were displayed with a tunic, scarf, or other outer piece that reminded me that dresses weren't the only thing Fortuny made: his printed velvets are so delicately embellished, colors changing subtly under the light.. .just amazing.

I noticed a number of different variations of neckline, embellishment, and even fabric that I'd never seen before, and it gave me a new direction for my ongoing Fortuny research: create a database of gown details and see if I can find any patterns by date, color, etc.

D. and I then went out to Strand Books. Which was next door to Forbidden Planet comics. Always a hazard, but a good one :)

Finally, my first trip to the Met. The main reason was for D. to see the Gubbio Studiolo, a masterpiece of Renaissance intarsia commissioned by the Duke of Urbino, a condottiere made good with a taste for art and learning.

It's another case of the real thing being far more breathtaking than any photo. After 500+ years, the individual wooden pieces are still bright and set perfectly edge to edge, without any shrinkage or warping over the centuries. The 3-dimensional effect is subtle but startling - I really didn't expect it to be as richly textured as it was. Again, something for which there seems to be no place in the modern world, as simply appreciating it requires time that is so seldom available.

If I could be said to have a passion, this would be it: the transformation of mundane materials into works of art, and the tangible nature of that art - to feel those silks, cut the wood with my own hands. Pushing pixels around may pay the bills but it doesn't have that same immediacy.

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