Orientalist exhibition at the Montreal museum of fine arts


OK just go, guys. I have been away and I must admit to a certain reluctance to getting into the subject. I mean, all that harem stuff is a bit off- putting. The idea of white 19 th century guys interpreting another culture for their own weird satisfaction made me hesitant certainly to volunteer to guide, and even to go visit. I was away when the exhibit started so I had a good excuse not to study up on it. Well, finally on the weekend I went for a brief visit. I realized just how much I need to delve into this subject to understand what I was looking at. One of the guides kindly gave a special tour today just for fellow guides and I wish I could have dragged myself out into the snowy streets to hear him. He is a wonderful guide, always very profound and historically accurate in his tours. ( Patrick Fitzgerald you know who you are). Nice thatt he got to do it on St. Patrick’s day too. Anyway I was so discouraged by the snow and I got into my writing….this is the last bit. Guess I will have to do my own reading instead of riding on his coat- tails. Bottom line: I was blown away both by the size, skill,wow-factor of the works and by the beautiful set up in the galleries. The paintings are set on dark walls that really set them off. The whole show is very atmospheric. Visitors even get to sit on a sort of divan and lounge around in front of a huge and engrossing painting. You have to make up your own minds about the subject matter. I love that they included some modern works that riff off the classical ones. Go see it. The illustration is a photo of a postcard of my favorite. This is a watercolour, folks. You get an idea of the level of painterly skill. Enjoy!

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