Spark Story: Tour of the Harn Museum Yael Diamond

Introduction: The Harn Museum was built in honor of Samuel Peebles Harn by a generous gift from his widow to the University of Florida and was completed in 1990. It showcases art ranging from contemporary to renaissance etchings, to Asian and Cuban in origin and genre. In addition, the Harn Museum receives numerous traveling exhibits every year.

Here I am pictured standing in front of pieces in the exhibit titled "Meant to be Shared", Selections from the Arthur Ross collection of European Prints at the Yale University Art Gallery. This piece is titled Map of Rome by Giambattista Nolli (1748)

Medium of the Art/ Technique of the Artist: This exhibit in particular featured etchings from the Yale University Art Gallery. Pieces in this collection dated all the way by to 1456 and are incredibly striking to look at. By simply looking up an example of an etched work online, you lack the ability to enjoy and appreciate the piece to the greatest extent. The detail and intricacies of these pieces really blew me away. What amazing me most about the technique employed here was it's practicability in nature. In a time before mass printing was available etching was the most effective way to mass produce documents, such as the map shown above. This would have been extremely helpful to someone trying to make their way around Rome centuries before GPS or smart phones. This piece really spoke to me in that it made me think about how lucky we are, and how often we take for granted this like Google Maps were we can just find the fastest route to get to our destination. Before maps even as this one, although it was less expensive than purchasing a hand drawn map, etching were still considered to be expensive and not everyone had the money to spare for that kind of luxury.

Eighteen- Light Pond Lily Lamp by Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, c. 1902) Favrille glass and bronze

Design of the Museum: I chose this exhibit to talk about lighting ironically because it was located in the darkest room in the museum, and rightfully so. This exhibit featured works by the American artist Louis Comfort Tiffany and contained a while range of glass and bronze pieces. They kept the light in this portion of the museum dim in order to highlight the beauty of the glass work. By having the lamps turned on, and other pieces such as glass bowls lit from behind and below it created a beautify ambianous and allowed for the colors and details in the pieces to really shine through. It made me feel very relaxed and at peace walking through the displays looking at the calming colors and dim light.

Helmet Mask (sowei) wood and fiber, made by the Mende people of Southern Sierra Leone

Art and Core Values: This piece spoke to me because it made me think about culture and heritage. Not mine in particular, but that of the native peoples of West Africa. The core value that this piece in particular embodied for me was faith. This attire would have been worn during religious ceremonies. It was thought that bright colors and vivid patterns would attract attention from the Gods. It made me think about my own religious customs, for example when Jewish men wear Kippahs on their heads. They do this to have a constant reminders that their is always someone above you and more important, that being God. Seeing this piece in a display case as opposed to being worn in a photograph actually mad me feel quiet upset. It made me think about the millions of Africans who were forcibly taken from their homelands and but on ships to the Americas to be sold as slaves. As a direct result of these actions, very few people remain from tribes that took part in this practice and that made is garment. Its saddening to know that selfish actions on behalf of Europeans has resulted in such a significant piece of culture and history.

On the left, Seated Bodhisattva and on the right, Gilt Wood Seated Bodhisattva X-Rays taken at UF Health Shands Hospital

Art and the Good Life: This piece reminded me of the theme celebrating. I think what this piece is trying to say is that we all as people having many layers to us and it is often difficult to see what we are hiding deep down, but in the end we all contain the same basic elements. I though that it was ingenious to take an X-ray of a sculpture, and is something that I had never seen before. It really allowed the visitors to experience the piece from a new perspective that they would never possibly be able to witness. The Good Life theme depicted here is Celebrating the Good Life. I think that this is a theme that resonates with the Good Life course and the piece because both discuss celebrating not only our differences but our similarities as well. Because in reality, we are all the same on the inside, and made of mostly water anyways.

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