Saturday, August 06, 2005

Masterpieces of the Museum Island, Berlin

My copy of Edouard Manet's "In the Conservatory" based on a post card and the leaflet of the exhibition mentioned in the main text. The lady in the copy looks younger than that in the original, and I like the former more, though it is, needless to say, artistically much inferior to the latter.

Last Friday the final road repairs after drainage works was going on in front of my house. My wife and I could not bear the noise of repair works and the smell of tar. We just had two tickets of the exhibition "Masterpieces of the Museum Island, Berlin: Visions of the Divine in the Sanctuary of Art" being held at Kobe City Museum. So, we went to see the exihibition.

The exhibition is one of the highlight cultural events of the "Germany in Japan 2005/2006" celebrations. The Museum Island (Museumsinsel) is a complex of buildings composed of individual museums located in the heart of Berlin, and was designated as a World Heritage site in 1999 [2]. The complex consists of five museum buildings: Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Altenationalgalerie, Bode Museum and the Pergamon Museum. The reconstruction of the complex is in progress to be completed in 2015.

The exhibition shows approximately 150 select artworks, many of which have come for the first time out of Germany, to convey the essence of the cultural landmark's future image. We can see works from prehistoric and ancient ages to the modern era. I especially liked "Altar Relief: Sun God Aten and Akhenaten's Family (New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, Amarna Period, ca. 1345 BC)," "Head of Cleopatra VII (ca. 40 BC)," "Venus (Sandro Botticelli, ca. 1485)" and "In the Conservatory (Edouard Manet, 1878-1879)" to name a few.

In front of "Head of Cleopatra VII" I remembered Blaise Pascal's words I had learned in a French grammar course of a university: "Si le nez de Cléopâtre avait été plus court, toute la face de la terre eût été changée. (If Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, all the surface of the earth would have been different.)"

  1. Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin (UNESCO World Heritage Web site).

Monday, August 01, 2005

Great People of Kanazawa Memorial Museum

From the leaflet of Great People of Kanazawa Memorial Museum.

After looking at two exhibitions and having lunch at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, on July 22, my wife and I visited Great People of Kanazawa Memorial Museum [1] nearby. The Memorial Museum displays the materials of the following persons born or grown up in Kanazawa: (from left to right in the upper row of the photos in the image) Yoshiro Taniguchi, architect (1904-1979); Jokichi Takamine (1854-1922), chemist; Setsurei Miyake, critic (1860-1945); (in the middle row) Godo Nakanishi, conservationist and poet (1895-1984); Toho Fujioka, scholar on Japanese literature (1870-1910); (in the bottom row) Yoichi Hatta, civil engineer (1886-1942); Daisetsu Suzuki, scholar on Buddhism (1870-1966); Hisashi Kimura, astronomer (1870-1943).

The building of the museum consists of three floors. On the first floor, materials of Taniguchi, Nakanishi and Hatta are shown; and on the second floor, those of the other five persons. The third floor has a hall and a lecture room. I was especially interested in the materials of Takamine, because I was one of the recipients of the third Takamine Prize for high school students [2] (now personal recipients are chosen from junior high school students, and a group prize is provided for junior high schools).

Though it was one of summer holidays, there were no other visitors while we were in the Memorial Museum. It would be highly desirable to let children visit such a place in order to know the life and work of the great people and have dream and ambition, as written in the leaflet of the museum.

There are respective memorial museums at other sites for the three writers born in Kanazawa: Izumi Kyoka (1873-1939), Tokuda Shusei (1871-1943) and Murou Saisei (1889-1962) [3-5].

  1. Web site, Great People of Kanazawa Memorial Museum (in Japanese).
  2. Web site, Dr. Takamine Jokichi Memorial Foundation (in Japanese).
  3. Web site, Izumi Kyoka Kinenkan Museum (in Japanese).
  4. Web site, Tokuda Shusei Kinenkan Museum (in Japanese).
  5. Web site, Murou Saisei Kinenkan Museum (in Japanese).