Road Trip: New England, Boston


Boston across from the snow covered Charles River

Riding the T, I felt like such an urban warrior.  Got on the right line, knew which station I’d get off, even had the ear buds and phone.  I was just missing that back pack to fit in as a native. 

I had only two agendas in Boston. Bring Memphis BBQ (sauces and dry rubs from my favorite places) to my knitting friend and to see what she was doing at the Museum of Fine Arts.  And if possible visit the John Singer Sargent painting, Daughters of Edward Darley Boit.  We had a great visit.  She is working on the restoration of this large painting by Benjamin West, Devout Men Taking The Body of Saint Stephen.

Benjamin West, Devout Men Taking The Body of Saint Stephen.

The museum is not what I remembered from 25 years ago. I think it tripled in size and scope.  I had to see ALL of it.  But I tell you, 2″ heeled boots was not a good choice after six hours and 11,000 steps. 

Found a new favorite in the contemporary arts.  

This is a detail from a large installation of mirrored blown glass vessels in mirrored cases. You don’t see your own reflection. I know nothing about the artist. 

detail of Josiah McElheny, Endlessly Repeating Twentieth Century Modernism, 2007

Plus the most pleasant, helpful, knowledgeable volunteers I have ever met. I’ll ask for specific artists. Bosch? No…but we do have a David Teniers the Younger, The Temptation of Saint Anthony.  I didn’t know about this painter. They even offered to walk me to the suggested painting! Unheard of!  But I hadn’t lost all my directional skills and found it. 


David Teniers the Younger, The Temptation of Saint Anthony, detail, MFA, Boston

Why Bosch?  His paintings are just weird. So is Teniers! 

I’m just copying an idea from an old movie about seeing all the Vermeer paintings in the world. Oops, it’s actually All the Vermeers in New York.  I have a mental checklist of artists I would like to see where ever there’s either a contemporary or fine art museum. It’s fun to ‘test’ guards’ and docents’ knowledge (You know they’re bored just standing there). By the way, Smithsonian museums weren’t as much fun, playing my little game. 

Here’s my usual list of works I would love to see:  

Hmmmm….I’ve never written this list down. What a strange mix. No longer a mental checklist, but it still looks mental

This is the last post about our New England road trip. 

Previous posts were about Cambridge and Portsmouth, NH. 


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