Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Daytrip to Providence, Rhode Island.

It is very easy to get from Boston to Providence. The commuter rail, and for a little more money, Amtrak leaves from more than one location in Boston. The ride can take between forty and seventy minutes each way. This afternoon I walked from the Providence station to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in about fifteen minutes. The campus of RISD has a lot of interesting and pleasing architecture. It is on the side of a hill in a historic section of the City.

The Museum was a real treat with very diverse collections, including Japanese, South Asian, Chinese, and an immense wooden Buddha that dwarfs any Asian sculpture on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A very knowledgeable and entertaining guard showed me the woodpecker hole in the statue. He also told me stories about the family that collected the textiles from the old silk road trade route. The textiles on display today were mostly made from cotton. The guard told me that only three percent of the Museum's collection is currently on display. When a planned addition is complete, four percent of the collection will be able to be shown at any one time. He showed real pride in the collection and was also very proud to work at the Museum. Another guard seemed pleased that I had taken the train from Boston to see the RISD Museum. She said that she should consider a day trip to Boston someday.

On the walls were at least four paintings by John Singer Sargent, who is a favorite American painter of mine. Also there was a Mary Cassatt, a Childe Hassam, and a host of French impressionists. The American wing had very nice period rooms and an excellent collection of silver. Drawers could be pulled out of the wall displaying additional cutlery. The modern art did little for me, but I did recognize many of the names of the artists, such as Jackson Pollack and Jeff Coons. I skipped the ancient Greek and Roman works to allow for a little time in the gift shop. The audio guide was free with the $8 entrance fee. The afternoon could not have gone more smoothly.


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