'Museums'

Loving Vincent

October 25, 2016

By Tab Byrum

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I had read an article a while back about a unique movie being done on the life of Vincent Van Gogh but then didn’t hear more about it until now. Last week I ran across an article on Huffington Post and now I’m very excited about this film called Loving Vincent, it will be the first ever “fully painted” feature film. Van Gogh lived from 1853 to 1890 and is known by all as a tortured soul, never finding success in love or art until after his death when his artwork gained fame worldwide. The plot for the film was constructed using more than 800 letters that Van Gogh had written himself and of course one of the main challenges of this film is to capture the unique style of painting Van Gogh had and transfer that style to moving figures on a movie screen. Of course, Van Gogh’s works automatically make beautiful backdrops for this film, and animators have the major task of taking the movements of live action actors and covering them with brush strokes. The movie is due out in 2017 and stars actors Aidan Turner and Saoirse Ronan just to name a couple, you can check out the Loving Vincent website here, the trailer for the film is first thing below and I’ve included photos from the film to whet your appetite, I’m so looking forward to this in theaters next year. Enjoy!!! (above image via)

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Colorful Russia

September 16, 2016

By Tab Byrum

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I’ve always been intrigued by Russia and its history, part of that is because some of my mother’s family were Russian immigrants in the 1800’s, and of course I’m fascinated by royalty and the lives they lived and still do. So I was very interested in a recent article on the website Russia Beyond The Headlines, the article is entitled “The Winter Palace As The Tsars Saw It” and it focuses on a series of paintings of interiors of the Winter Palace by artist Eduard Gau. The paintings are all watercolors and were ordered by Tsar Nikolai I, the thing that’s so enthralling is the colors of the rooms and their decorations, we are so used to only seeing old black and white photographs from the late 19th and early 20th century that it’s easy to forget they lived in a world of color just as we do. Of course being the home of the Imperial family of Russia the Winter Palace was full of color and it seems everything was gilded in gold. Interior paintings are one of my favorite forms of art, I love when an artist can capture a beautiful and well-appointed room in all its glory. Here’s a look at life in the Russian court and the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg more than a century ago, Enjoy!!!

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A Day In The Hague & Mauritshuis

August 18, 2016

By Tab Byrum

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All my life I have heard of The Hague in the Netherlands and to be very honest I thought it was a building but it’s a city, I guess it’s just the only city I know of with the word “the” in it besides The Vatican. Anyway, we decided to visit The Hague as it’s the center of not only the Dutch government but also the home of the U.N.’s International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. We traveled by train to The Hague which was about an hour outside of Amsterdam, The Hague sits on the western coast of the Netherlands next to the North Sea. My friend Maartje had told me about a wonderful museum in The Hague called Mauritshuis (it was originally a private home) which houses over 800 artistic objects with most of them being paintings by Dutch artists such as Rembrandt, Ver Meer, and Holbein, so we set that as our destination in Google Maps and walked over. Mauritshuis is a wonderful museum, it feels much more intimate than a lot of museums since it’s in a former home and it also allows you get very closely to the works of art and see detail. After a couple of hours at Mauritshuis we explored the city of The Hague, walking through the Dutch Parliament building, we found the Dutch Royal Palace, explored several shops and had a wonderful lunch of salads at ‘t Goude Hooft (The Gold Head) and of course took lots and lots of pictures. Here’s a peek at our day in The Hague, Enjoy!!!

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Exploring The Rijksmuseum

August 16, 2016

By Tab Byrum

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In getting to know the city of Amsterdam I knew we needed to visit the Rijksmuseum on Museum Square in the Dutch capital. The Rijksmuseum is the National Museum of Art and History for the Netherlands and holds some wonderful treasures including paintings by such artists as Van Gogh, Vermeer, and Van Dyck. The building that houses the museum was first built in 1876 with the completion of the building in 1885, over the years there have been changes made to the building with additions being added on and the hall that houses Rembrandts famous The Nights Watch being remodeled in 1906. In 2003 the main hall of the Rijksmuseum was closed for a major renovation and was reopened to the public by Queen Beatrix in 2013. Today the museum has huge spaces filled with natural light as well as rooms with gray painted walls that evoke a more somber mood, we thoroughly enjoyed the Rijksmuseum and definitely will have to go back as it was impossible to see it all on our first trip as well as fit in everything else we wanted to do. Here’s some pics from our morning jaunt through this beautiful museum, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Enjoy!!!

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Visiting Sandringham House

August 9, 2016

By Tab Byrum

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Back in April, I did several posts focusing on the houses and castles Queen Elizabeth calls home, Sandringham House is one of those homes and we were able to visit it in person during our vacation in England. Our friends, the Potts’ were visiting the Harry Potter exhibit north of London so Michael and I took a train out of London also headed north to Norfolk and the village of Kings Lynn. We traveled for about an hour and a half then took a short walk from the train station to the bus station where we caught a bus for the 20 or so minute ride to the Sandringham estate. Sandringham House sits on a 20,000-acre estate and it’s beautiful, everything is lush and green with huge ancient trees forming a canopy over carved out trails leading you to the house. The house is privately owned by Queen Elizabeth and is where she and the rest of her family traditionally spend their Christmas and New Year’s holiday.

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90 Years Of Style: Fashioning A Reign

July 22, 2016

By Tab Byrum

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Tomorrow is the first day of a very special exhibit in London called “Fashioning A Reign”. The exhibit is part of the yearlong celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday earlier this year. There will actually be three different exhibits with the one opening tomorrow being at Buckingham Palace in London, the other two exhibits are also at Royal palaces with one being at Holyrood Palace in Scotland and the third at Windsor Castle outside of London. The Buckingham Palace exhibit will be the largest exhibit with a total of 150 outfits being exhibited at all three royal residences. (above image via)

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A sample of clothing in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace. (via)

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Bastille Day 2016

July 14, 2016

By Tab Byrum

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There may be a trip to Paris in our future and since today is Bastille Day in France I thought this was the perfect time to look back at our first trip to the City of Light and some of our favorite things. Join me for a stroll down memory lane or in this case the Champs Elysees, as we wish our French friends la fête nationale!!!!

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Favorite Museums: Smithsonian Institute

June 3, 2016

By Tab Byrum

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The Smithsonian Institute is often referred to as “America’s Attic”, the place where some of the greatest treasures of our country are kept. As you probably know the SI is located in Washington, D.C. and it is made up of a group of several museums that cover all subjects from fine art to Native Americans and Space Travel. The Smithsonian was founded in 1846 following the 1829 death of British scientist James Smithson who had left his fortune to his nephew but wanted the fortune to be used “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Andrew Jackson was President of the time and he sent a representative to England to collect the legacy, the diplomat returned with 105 sacks containing almost 105,000 gold coins worth around $500,000.00 (today’s worth is more than $11 million dollars). The SI started out as a center for scientific research but very quickly it also became the repository for American collections from the government, this has continued to grow over the decades into the Smithsonian we know today. The Smithsonian Institute is made up today of 19 museums as well as the National Zoological Park, eleven museums are on the National Mall with others located elsewhere in D.C. and other states. If you’ve never been to the Smithsonian I hope you are able to make it someday, there are so many amazing things to see that make up who we are as Americans, objects from favorite TV shows and movies, rare gems and a look at the history of all the peoples that have inhabited our great country since before its founding up to now, until you get there here’s a peek at what you might see. Enjoy!!! (above image via)

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Favorite Museums: The Breakers in Newport, RI

June 2, 2016

By Tab Byrum

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If you enjoy architecture, interior design and history then you have to try and get to Newport, Rhode Island and tour the “Cottages“. The cottages are several houses in Newport left from the Gilded Age of America, they were all built by people with names like Vanderbilt, Whitney, and Astor. Today these mansions tower over the landscape as reminders of how life used to be. We were in Boston several years on business for Michael’s job and had a rental car, we had driven up and down the Massachusets coast and a waitress in a restaurant told us if we had a few extra hours we should drive to Newport. We arrived in the seaside town late in the afternoon and immediately drove to The Breakers, we bought tickets and were one of the last tours of the day. The home is grand just as you would expect, with two story ceilings, grand staircases, massive furniture only outdone by the huge fireplaces. The tours through the house are guided and they are full of wonderful information and anecdotes. I’m hoping to get back to Newport, there are several other homes available to tour including Marble House, The Elms, and Rosecliff, I’m thinking a trip in the fall would be perfect. Until we can all get to Newport we’ll have to be happy with photos of the Breakers, another wonderful place to visit on vacation. Enjoy!!! (above image via

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Favorite Museums: Musee d’Orsay

June 1, 2016

By Tab Byrum

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On the left bank of the Seine river in Paris stands a majestic building, a train station built between 1898 and 1900, then it was known as Gare d’Orsay but today it’s the Musée d’Orsay and one of my very favorite art museums. Today this building that once housed trains and the people getting off and on them houses mostly French art, paintings, sculptures, furniture and photographs, created from 1848 to 1914. The Musée d’Orsay is home to the world’s largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world with works by Monet, Manet, Degas, Van Gogh, and Cezanne, to name a few. The Gare d’Orsay train station had become outdated by 1939 and had been used as a mail center during World War II and a movie set after the war, in 1970 the station was slated to be torn down to make way for a new hotel but that was stopped by the French Minister of Cultural Affairs. December 1986 saw the building re-opened as the Musée d’Orsay after five years of construction. Today the Musee is one of the most visited art venues in the world and for those of you who love movies, the Gare d’Orsay was the train station setting in the 2011 movie Hugo by Martin Scorsese. If you are ever in Paris you cannot let a visit to the Musée d’Orsay slip by you, until then here are some pics to pique your interest. Enjoy!!! (above image via)

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