Sun 4 Sep 2011
I lived in Salem, MA for a short time in my young adulthood and loved the historic seaside setting, which is very much alive long after this once thriving port took a back-seat to other cities. Most know of Salem’s colonial history, particularly the Salem Witch Trials. However, Salem was once a major seaport with ships from all over the world pulling into the wharfs to trade.
Salem’s place in history is preserved throughout the city, but there is one real gem amongst the more touristy fair – the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM). Once dedicated to Salem’s seafaring roots, the PEM now is a world class museum with an amazing collection and excellent special exhibitions.
About the Peabody Essex Museum: “The mission of the Peabody Essex Museum is to celebrate outstanding artistic and cultural creativity by collecting, stewarding and interpreting objects of art and culture in ways that increase knowledge, enrich the spirit, engage the mind and stimulate the senses. Through its exhibitions, programs, publications, media and related activities, PEM strives to create experiences that transform people’s lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world.”
I have visited the PEM many times over the years, but was recently thrilled to see their latest special exhibition – Painting the American Vision – continuing through November 6, 2011.
About Painting the American Vision: “In the mid-1800s, a loosely knit group of American painters-now known as the Hudson River School-forged an “American” landscape that regarded the natural world as a resource for spiritual renewal and an expression of cultural and national identity. Drawn from the celebrated collection of the New-York Historical Society, this exhibition features 45 magnificent landscapes, including Thomas Cole’s iconic series of monumental paintings, “The Course of Empire,” as well as works by Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Asher B. Durand and others.”
This exhibition includes an excellent collection of landscapes of the northeast. As a new resident of one of the areas painters flocked to in the 1800’s – I particularly love these works. As I travel around the amazing White Mountains region of New Hampshire I continually pinch myself of how lucky I am to take in the natural beauty all around. Looking at the painting in the Painting the American Vision exhibition reminded me of my good fortune and my love of art and nature.
Here’s to appreciation the beauty around us – in museums and nature.