Tuesday, December 17, 2013

First Day Calm and Museum Surprises

It's been awhile since I've taken the kind of vacation where you take each day as it comes. No plans, just a vague list of try-to-dos. Yesterday was that kind of day.

After a morning of enjoying the view from the porch, a little morning nap to the sound of the waves and the merengue music, and a hearty lunch, we took a stroll down to the beach. Families lounged on the beach and in the not too cold water. It's a small little local beach, and I imagine we'll be back often.

We then decided to go do something, and of all our options, the Museo del Arte in Ponce won out. So we packed up and took the drive west. It was a beautiful day with only a few clouds, and we were able to see all that we missed the night before. Beautiful forest covered hills with the mountains in the distance. The sea to our right, sparkling in the afternoon sun.

The guidebooks all say the museum has a superb collection, including some Pre-Raphaelites, but I wasn't expecting the many surprises I found. We first did the Puerto Rican art exhibit which was extensive and eclectic-from painters to printmakers to photographers, it told a fascinating story of the island's history and art. After an hour in that exhibit, it was time to see the Pre-Raphaelites. The other main exhibit was one on British art, and in there was a wealth of P-R that simply took my breath away. Leighton, Rossetti, Morris, and so many glorious Burne-Jones paintings and sketches. I was giddy as I stood in front of Leighton's 'Flaming June' but I was emotional in front of Burne-Jones's 'The Sleep of King Arthur in Avalon.' This immense floor-ceiling-wall-to-wall painting took my breathe away. To find such a masterpiece here was a gift, and I simply circled the room and tried not to cry. You can bet I marched right to the giftshop and bought quite a bit.

All of these works belong to the museum, and I urge all of you to visit this museum when you come to the island. It's a gorgeous building. While the second floor permanent collection didn't wow me (I've seen enough Flemish, Dutch, and Christian themed works to last me a long time), and I never even made it to the contemporary wing, I left speechless. The drive back home with he purple tinted mountain horizon seemed an appropriate end to the day.

After a better sleep, despite a cat fight outside our bedroom window, a storm in the night, and a mosquito that kept looking near my ear, I am eager to get out In the day. Our sky is gray today but I'm sure it will pass soon enough. With no set plan, all good things are possible.

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