Museum Tour on the Art of Perception

Four days a week, highlights tours offer the opportunity to learn about select works in our permanent collection. Volunteer docents come armed with knowledge and creativity to help museum visitors navigate innovative topics.

On Thursday, September 22 the tour was all about the art of perception. While one may think that the tour would have centered on the the museum’s current CLE OP: Cleveland Op Art Pioneers exhibition solely based on the title, docent Anne Poirson’s tour covered so much more. The first stop was in the Arms and Armor Gallery in the 1916 building. Anne encouraged us to take a look at the Armor for Man and Horse with Völs-Colonna Arms. After carefully examining the armor, she asked us to give our opinions and observations of the armor. We learned that the armor was used for tournaments and pageantry. This armor could be seen in battle too, but the decorative nature of it meant it was probably more for show.

Armor for Man and Horse with Völs-Colonna Arms

Next, we walked over to the Dutch Art Gallery. Here we took a closer look at Silver Wine Jug, Ham, and Fruit by Abraham van Beyeren. Most of us on the tour thought the painting looked luxurious with the exotic food, wine, and decoration. One participant asked whether this was a posed work or a spontaneous piece, and after reexamining the painting we determined that the work was more than likely posed, since it included human portrait reflected in the wine jug. We later viewed George III (1783) by Benjamin West. Despite it being after the Revolutionary War, West paints King George is almost a confident light. George is clearly trying to show that he is unaffected by the war that just took place. In contrast to King George’s portrait, we then viewed Elizabeth Shewell West and Her Son, Raphael (1770), which is much more loving and happy. We can see the closeness between West’s wife and their son Raphael, and the inspiration West took f! rom the artist Raphael and his painting Madonna and Child. Our last stop leads us to Blue Bloc (1967) by Edwin Mieczkowski, which plays tricks on our eyes. This particular artwork is completely using perception to try to convey itself to the viewer. The colors and shapes play with the views of any onlooker trying to focus on it. As our tour comes to a close we all began to realize that perception of art is in the eye of the beholder. It was educating and interesting to see how art has evolved through the ages and how our perceptions have shaped it through the years. Don’t miss out on the fun. Check our calendar to see what’s in store for the next highlights tour. Tours are offered everyday the museum is open @ 1:30 pm.

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