Artist date *
I made a date with some painters and goddesses. The painters were for the most part Impressionists. And any chance I get, I bow to Quan Yin in the Buddhism section.
Was I still in Paris? No, it was Sunday in Cincinnati. The location? My hometown museum, Cincinnati Art Museum. Founded in 1881, it has been called one of the most comprehensive collections in the Midwest.
I was going with a friend but things changed. Already showered and psyched up, I decided to still visit, alone, and make it an artist date. This usually involves writing so I am writing this first part sitting in a comfortable chair in the Procter & Gamble Gallery in the Cincinnati Wing.
I just saw Raphael’s Lady & the Unicorn along with a print of the Mona Lisa. How timely, having just returned from viewing the ‘real’ Mona Lisa in Paris. And how different. At the Louvre, a crowd of tourist groups swarmed with selfie sticks to capture Mona and take her back to Japan and wherever else with them. I was pleased to learn that CAM outlaws these obnoxious intrusions (my word outlaw).
After finding that only one Cezanne and Van Gogh were currently displayed, the others in storage or on loan, I strolled through the rooms glancing at the others, although disappointed. Yet how spoiled am I: I got to spend two afternoons in that ultimate museum of Impressionism, the Musee d’Orsay!
I discovered a new goddess today, right on the main floor as you approach the Great Hall. She is Atargatis (also known as Tyche), a deity in what is now modern Jordan. This “micaceous quartz limestone” was purchased in 1939 so the museum has had her awhile but recently brought her out of storage. Hurray! As is so often true, she was a fertility goddess yet also held reign over grain, fish, and (last but not least) prosperity. Her lunar powers are represented by the crescent moon above her right shoulder and atop her scepter. The zodiac figures reflect the agricultural cycle marked by spring and autumn festivals. Appropriately, I discovered her today, mid-October, during my favorite season.
As I drove home, I took a back route past woods and plenty of leaves beginning to turn orange and red. Change is in the air. Transitions. New beginnings.
* This phrase taking an “artist date” comes from author Julia Cameron