Saturday, June 18, 2016

Dublin Museums

We visited three Dublin museums on this campaign: the Chester Beatty Library, the National Art Gallery, and the National Museum (of archaeology).
Beatty was an American geologist who got quite rich in the
later 1800s, moved to London after the death of his wife, and
there continued a life-long passion for collecting; his
particular interest was religious texts, primarily the
Abrahamic religions, but Asian as well; much of the three
floors, near the castle, also concerns the history of paper
making, ink and pens, printing, and so forth; alas, the Beatty
has a "no fotos!" policy, but I did get this one of a mid-2nd
century copy of the Gospels, a page from Luke, oldest 
known copy

And a page from Mark (of course)

The National Art Gallery is undergoing some
significant renovation; the biggies were out,
nonetheless; we concentrated on them, knowing
little of Irish art; this is Vermeer's Woman
Writing a Letter...
how big do you want? They
also had a selection of Leonardo's drawings,
on loan of course

Velasquez' Kitchen Maid at the Dinner at Emmaus; "that's some
funny shit they're talking about..."

A younger Peter Breughel Peasant Wedding; there was also an
Avercamp winter scene, but I didn't focus it well

What dreams are made of...a lost Caravaggio...The Betrayal Kiss
...not found at a yard sale, but the story is actually instructive
about how these things sometimes get lost; and found

Delacroix' Demosthenes Practicing at the Beach

A Monet, something about a river

John Singer Sargent, The Bead Stringers of Venice

We visited the National History Museum in 2009 and were fairly
blown away by the collection. It hasn't changed a great deal,
although the stuff that keeps being found in the bog and elsewhere
is pretty compelling; above are Mesolithic fish traps, found in
County Meath, 5300-4730 BC. Other artifacts found were as old
as 5500 BC.

Most of Ireland's megalithic stuff is too large, and fragile, to
haul into a museum, but they did they get this little burial vault
inside; the best museum of the megalithic is at Bru na Boinne,
a bit north of Dublin, and we'll be getting there toward the end
of this visit; I'd be surprised to learn that Ireland does not have
the most megalithic sites, per square mile, of any place in
Europe; and maybe by any measure, anywhere

The Lurgan Canoe, 2500 BC, a dugout found in
a bog near Galway; it's a meter wide and more
than 15 meters long--fifty feet! Obviously used
for cruises

Neolithic jadeite ceremonial axes (nearest jadeite is in the
the Italian Alps); maybe I can find one in Ireland, if not Carnac;
4000-3800 BC

The more recent artifacts...4,000 years or younger, are typically
presented with other items in the bog-hoard in which they were
found; here  two rings, a dress fastener, a gold bracelet, and an
amber necklace; remember, amber comes only from the Baltic

Nine gold beads, fit for a giant...they're about 4 inches in

Nicely carved stone

More archaeological-grade gold; and amber

Five lunulae--crescent-shaped gold necklaces, many delicately
inscribed--among scores on display; we're now into the earliest
stage of the Bronze Age, say 2000 BC

From a hoard of torcs, bracelets

Imagine the neck-ache of carrying these babies around; no
wonder they to put them in the bog safety-deposit

First prize, at least among the older gold oared vessel
complete with seats spanning the hull and 16 oars; there was
plenty more to see at this museum, but, you get it; don't miss it if
you go to Dublin

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