Monday, November 9, 2009

A Short GUIDE to ART MUSEUMS in the DEEP South, USA

I was having a short discussion with my husband and our little boy on the way to church a week ago , telling my husband if I was driving them we would have been at church already . Somehow that led to the topic of what does makes me slow down ? My little boy chimes in from the back seat and says, " I know !'
I said, " Really, what's that ? " He says " PAINTINGS ! ANYWHERE there is a painting. "
I absolutely agreed. I truly become almost paralyzed at times when I see paintings, mostly antique oil paintings ( also other original oil paintings) , from the unbelievable talent displayed with the meticulous details, the vivid colors, the obvious effort and time involved , the obvious evidence of God in someone's work. I personally feel there is no other talent that compares to a great artist's talent ( that is not that I believe ALL talents are not of great value ), art is just MY personal favorite.  Some people may disagree and say a musical composition , a literary masterpiece , a fabulous singing voice....but I am knocked out by old oil paintings over them all.
There is ONE other thing that slows me down, it is at the bottom of this entry... don't bother scrolling down as it is not really that exciting or interesting.
But I have discovered it REALLY slows me down.

Alright, here is a very short guide to some great art museums in the Deep South of the United States, not from the perspective of an art historian or art expert...just from a woman that LOVES antique paintings.
Here they are :

Bob Jones University and Art Museum
Greenville, South Carolina
This is to me , hands down the very best art museum I have seen that has an astounding collection of Renaissance, Baroque,  Italian, French, Flemish, Gothic and all are Religious art. This art museum is on the Bob Jones' University campus, the only problem I had with it , is that the hours are only 2-5 . You can go to Greenville's Art Museum before ( which did not impress me nearly as much ), but Bob Jones collection will exhaust you visually and is worth very hour that it is open. It is very dark inside the galleries, a bit too dark for me...but the beauty of the paintings makes you forget that. In each of the galleries they have young University students standing around guarding the paintings, and chatting with each other when you walk away. Only if you love old religious Renaissance art will you enjoy this museum, if Modern or Contemporary art is your ' bag ', then this will not be the museum for you.
Here is the link:

Telfair Museums
Savannah, Georgia
This is my second favorite art museum in the South, located in downtown historic Savannah , actually has three museums in close proximity but the Telfair Academy in an old Neo-classical mansion was by far my favorite. So charming , housed in an old Southern mansion, with rooms full of spectacular antique paintings. The other larger art museum, the Jepson center, was not for me as it is full of contemporary and abstact art.
Not my thang.
Going to visit Savannah is also a pleasure in itself, so be sure to combine an overnight stay if you can.
Here is the link for all the info:

High Museum of Art

Atlanta, Georgia
This was a little further down on my list as it was soooo difficult to find in downtown Atlanta's traffic, then maneuvering through the parking situation, then finally getting inside. I felt like the exhibitions are very nice, but too much wall space is left between the paintings often, for such a large building I thought there would be more Art. Still has a very good collection. Lots of modern, Impressionists, Old masters, abstract, contemporary. Also has a good selection of marble sculptures in the museum. This museum will take you probably 2-3 hours plus to go through.


Columbia Museum of Art
Columbia, South Carolina

Now this is my local art museum, easy to find in downtown Columbia. Not open on Mondays or Tuesdays though. It has a very nice collection of High Renaissance art and Baroque artwork. It is layed out by posted time periods in each room. This is a mid-size museum , so it will still satisfy your artistic appetites for a day. Check out their website for additional info:

Gibbes Art Museum
Charleston, South Carolina
This was a bit further down on my list as the collection is not nearly as spectacular as you would  imagine for such an historic city. VERY easy to find in downtown Charleston. You can walk to this from most hotels here. It has a nice collection of miniatures , and some interesting local portraits of famous Charlestonians. You can get through this small museum in about an hour or and hour and a half. The gift shop at the front is very nice with lots of books on Charleston. I am a Charleston nut, so I would always include it in my list for someone else. You can go here and then enjoy the beautiful neighborhoods of Charleston.

Now for the one other thing that I have discovered slows me way down.

My cowboy boots

I was born in Austin, even all the way over here in the Deep South with all the Southern belles around...I like to wear my boots. But ONLY every now and then , as I CANNOT walk fast in them to save my life. I feel like I'm wearing snowshoes in Alaska...every pair I own  I can't walk faster than an ole' cowpoke. But they make me feel like a cowgirl , so I wear them.

So old oil paintings and cowboy boots slow me down.
My secret is out.

I hope you get to some of these art museums and give your eyes a feast.
Many blessings,

" For while we do not look at the things which are seen , but at the things which are not seen . For the things which are seen are temporary , but the things which are not seen are eternal. " 2 Corinthians 4:18