Bean Town

Spending a week in Boston exploring the city.  Lots of new buildings and breathtaking architecture.  The contrast between the old and historic and the modern couldn’t be more stark.   Contrast, say, the wonderful and rambling Gothic monstrosity of the Old South Church with these recent glass and steel monoliths that seem to challenge the sky itself.

Boston also creates some very interesting open spaces for pedestrians. Space itself is a kind of luxury in any city — you feel the openness in some of these pedestrian areas and small parks, not to mention the welcome touches of nature.

Northeastern University has expanded immensely.  Shocking how much real estate they have taken over and developed.

Boston Commons putting on a show with the blossoming of spring.  Showing off really, and not modest about it.  Listened to this barker in the park dressed up like a 17th century pilgrim relate the story of a Quaker woman who was found guilty of heresy. Apparently the Puritans were not fond of Quakers.  The penalty was banishment from the city.  She came back to Boston twice to appeal the decision, but the second time was a big mistake, for the Boston authorities ran out of patience.  They decided to hang her instead, which they did from a tree on the Commons.  Quaint.  The dressed up Puritan pointed out the location where her hanging tree had been.  The smallish audience ogled the spot.

A small army of the homeless and helpless await the opening of the Boston Public Library at 9 am, as the professional class scurries past to get to their offices on time.

Lautrec exhibit at Fine Arts.  Learned that he came from a wealthy family and didn’t need income.  He wasn’t actually a midget, but had a congenital disease that stunted the growth of his legs when he was an adolescent.

Only 36 when he died.

I like his work because of how penetrating he was at capturing expressions on the face, sometimes warts and all.  There’s a super realism at work there.  Grosz was like that too. Super realism, and often not at all complimentary.

The Boston School of Art of the 1890s was clearly enamored of Vermeer.  The museum doesn’t boast a single Vermeer, but has many American knock offs, some of which are quite exquisite and in no way inferior to the master.  I think the high point of my 3-hour museum stint was this discovery, although I’m always impressed by the realism of Roman heads.

The Green Monster

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