April 4, 2013
Went to New Haven last week, two hours by train from New York with familiar Connecticut coast stops along the way, from Stamford to Bridgeport. It’s all just as I recall from my days in school there. But New Haven has changed. The year I was there back in the 1970’s a freshman was shot while moving into his college and walking around at night was a fool’s gambit. Now everything looks better, especially along Chapel Street, home to the Yale University Art Gallery
which re-opened in expanded quarters last year.
Yale’s collection, the oldest university art museum in the country, is encyclopedic—from glorious mosaic floors taken from the Roman town of Jerash in present-day Jordan to marvelous Cezannes and Gauguins—commodiously arranged in three interconnected buildings. Plus, it’s free, as is the Yale Center for British Art
across the street where I sat in on a lecture about English landscapes, part of a stunning exhibition called “Edwardian Opulence: British Art at the Dawn of the 20th Century” (through April 13).
But my real reason for the trip was to see a small show in the gallery at Whitney Humanities Center on Wall Street, Alexander Purves: Roman Sketches. I got to know Alec, who teaches in the Yale School of Architecture, while I lived in Rome; every spring he takes graduate students there for a four-week workshop devoted to sketching monuments in and around the Eternal City, in the belief that hand-drawing remains “a critical mode of investigation and expression,” despite the broadening use of the computer in architectural design. When the group got special permission to sketch at the Villa Madama—a High Renaissance marvel originally designed by Raphael, now used as an Italian government guest house for visiting dignitaries—I tagged along and never forgot it, especially the Elephant Fountain in the garden overlooking Rome.
On display in the New Haven exhibition are renderings from Alec’s sketch books—mostly using ballpoint pen, but some in watercolor—of St. Peter’s, Borromini’s La Sapienza, the Piazza del Popolo and other sites well-known to Rome aficionados. Vastly more evocative than photos, the stuff of a bad case of homesickness for Rome.
From the first annual SPEAK UP! contest, June 23, 2018, Muhanga, Rwanda
Syracuse Archaeological Museum, Sicily
Proshyan School bathroom with water tank
Takar and Kataro are my favorite Armenia reds
School time in Armenia.
Garni Temple, Armenia
Big Sur from Soberanes Point
Artichoke Pickers by Henriette Shore
On the way to the beach
Jalama Beach, CA
Hello, little sea urchin!
Famous Jalama Beach Burger
Three by Peter Hessler
Spring time on the Big Sur Coast
Jalama Beach, CA
Motya Charioteer. Image from www.telegraph.co.uk.
Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA
Homesick for Rome
Therme Vals in Switzerland
National Socialist Party poster from Vogelsgang
Image courtesy of Tylas at English Wikipedia
Vintage Naples Historic District
From Palm Cottage
Borobudur frieze; Buddha's life
Borobudur at sunrise
Shikellamy State Park in Pennsylvania
Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Image courtesy of Politics and Prose
Image courtesy of John Wehrheim.
Lotusland in Montecito, CA
Ganna Walska of Lotusland
Image courtesy of Flickr user ViaMoi.
Conques Church. Image courtesy of Flickr user Seligr.
Weiming Lake, Peking University. Image courtesy of Flickr user ImGump.
The Coral Casino at the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel near Santa Barbara
Agrodome, Rotorua, New Zealand. Image courtesy of Flickr user _gem_.
Vandalized images at Painted Rock
Painted Rock, Carrizo Plain National Monument
Mesa Verde National Park. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons user BenFrantzDale.
A map of Chicago, Illinois, imprinted in 1913 from the United States Geographical Survey’s historical topographic map collection. Image courtesy of the USGS.
Image courtesy of Flickr user hattiesburgmemory.
Cristo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro. Image courtesy of Flickr user alobos flickr.
Image courtesy of Flickr user joiseyshowaa.
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