Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Research: Worcester Art Museum "Then and Now" by Travis Simpkins. Update #7

     -The first photo, from 1970, shows a group of dancers that are clearly enjoying themselves, caught in mid cavort, on the Antioch Hunt Mosaic at the Worcester Art Museum. While the sight of people boogieing or performing on the 1,500 year old tesserae might seem cringe-inducing to current sensibilities, photos show that various events took place right on top of the artwork up through the 1980's. The photographs, when viewed in timeline sequence, are interesting because they illustrate a gradual shift in conservation awareness. Here, in 1970, folks are allowed free reign on the tiles. By the late 1970's, dancing was still allowed, but the mosaic was covered. By the 1990's, the railing was up and access was restricted.
     -At first glance, the second photo, taken a decade ago in the American Decorative Arts Gallery, might not look any different than the view today. However, take note of the light around the edge of the ceiling in the 2004 photo. That's natural light. A thin skylight, installed when the fourth floor was added on in 1940, used to run around the perimeter of the room. Sporadic leaks, various safety concerns and logistical problems led to the skylight being sealed and covered in early 2005.

     -The sketch is of the elegant mid 19th Century Neoclassical statue of "Flora", that until recently, was on display in Salisbury Hall.

Dancers. Renaissance Court. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Decorative Arts. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Flora, 19th Century. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins