August 14, 2011

Boston. August, 2010

Because of the Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts exhaustive digs in Egypt between 1905 and 1942, the museum is a vast repository of plundered treasures. Jewelry, coins, mummy cases, sculptures, columns, you name it. In one section, you are invited to enter a tomb-like chamber and soon you’re surrounded by limestone carvings from thousands of years ago. It’s hard not to feel a chill of relative unimportance standing there. Realizing that others stood encased by these same stones so long ago...and where are they now? Similar to the sensation I feel when I see photos of Earth taken from outer space. The irritation caused by someone’s parking in my favorite space greatly diminishes. The driver who cut me off that morning fades from memory. So I missed the sale on coffee at Stop& important is it? Feeling right-sized. I recommend a visit.


  1. Boston's MFA has THE finest collection of Old Kingdom Egyptian art. Cairo, the Louvre, the British Museum have more artifacts from all eras -- but the MFA focused on the Old Kingdom. Thanks go to Ned Warren, the outrageous queen who, shunned by proper Bostonians, traipsed off to Europe and Egypt with his gay lover, spending vast sums on beautiful things -- when he wasn't writing tracts such as "A Defense of Uranian Love" (banned in Boston). He and his lover were referred to snidely as "the bachelors of art" by Boston Brahmans. But Ned was so fabulously rich, and museums depended on him so much, that nobody dared say anything to his face about his blatant homosexuality. His gifts to the Boston MFA make up 90 per cent of its Classical and Egyptian collection, one of the finest in the world. After his lover died in 1928, Ned left Boston one last time and went back to his beloved England. Saying he couldn't face New Year's without his friend, his health declined and he died in a nursing home on December 28th and was cremated in London. No members of his family attended the funeral and none of the museums that had benefited so much from his donations sent a representative to his memorial service.

  2. I think my favorite artifact on display in the MFA's Egyptian rooms is the chamois mesh loincloth cut from a single piece of leather, with hand-tooled mesh holes. The reinforced seat is a nice touch: No other museum in the world can match that!