On this snowy Country Inn Day I decided a cultural outing was in order so I left my cozy Inn mid-morning and took a 45 minute drive north to the University Circle neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland. This neighborhood always makes me feel more intelligent just by driving through it because genius seems to be in the air here; that’s because University Circle is home to many fine institutions and brilliant minds. There’s Case Western Reserve University, Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra, The Cleveland Botanical Garden, The Natural History Museum, The Cleveland Institute of Music where I went to school, University hospitals, and many more outstanding establishments, but today I’m after Art!
The Cleveland Museum of Art is a wonderful place. It was established in 1913. It has had a number of additions, but my favorite part of the museum is its original, very classical building. This museum is internationally renowned for its substantial holdings of Asian and Egyptian art, but it also houses a diverse permanent collection of more than 43,000 works from all around the world. And best of all it has remained historically true to the vision of its founders, keeping general admission free to the public. This is possible because the museum has a $600 million endowment. It is one of the wealthiest museums in the world.
The museum has a lovely lagoon and garden out front. This is how it looks in Winter, but it’s really gorgeous on a Summer’s day.
But since it’s not Summer, today I appreciate the newly constructed Atrium with its glass roof which is now covered in snow. Better the roof covered in snow than me. The Atrium connects the new part of the museum to the old part. It has beds of grass-like greenery at one end.
This greenery is most interesting. It has a moss-like appearance, but I couldn’t identify exactly what the plant material was. Also interesting is the way it grows in slanting hills and valleys.
The other end of the Atrium is a great place to sit and relax. Here you might pause for some refreshment purchased at the cafe or read over the material you just bought at the gift shop which is a few steps away.
Ah, the gift shop! I always enjoy browsing in this shop and today I had some delightful conversations with museum employees. Ohioans are so friendly. Even when I go off on a Country Inn Day outing all by myself I always find nice people with whom to strike up a conversation. When I’m here I always buy museum postcards and note cards to send my many pen friends. But the shop has so much more – books, jewelry, prints, etcaetera etcaeterorum.
But how ’bout I show you a few things around the museum? Would you like to see the Armor Court?
Follow me through this grand room with its marble pillars.
And here we are. I was told this armor collection, popular with the children, was put into the museum because Cleveland was a steel town way back when so armor seemed to be just the thing to get the museum off and running.
I happen to love portraiture. Here we have the portrait of Elizabeth Beltzhoaver Mason . It was painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1803. Stuart was an American artist who lived from 1755 to 1828.
And this is a portrait of Hugh Hope painted by the Scottish artist Henry Raeburn in 1810. Raeburn lived from 1756 to 1823. I love the clothing of these early times. How ’bout I show you one more portrait though I enjoyed looking at lots and lots of them.
This painting is called “Portrait of a woman” It is quite old. Rembrandt van Rijn painted it in 1635 or earlier. You may know Rembrandt was Dutch and he lived from 1606 to 1669.
I know I said just one more portrait, but I lied. I have to show you another. It is perhaps my favorite, or at least one of my favorites.
This is a self-portrait of a Belgiun named Joseph Paelivick. He lived from 1781 to 1839. He created this painting in 1812. I love his pose. I love his clothing. I love his expression. I love portraiture.
But as I said earlier there is so very much to see here, 43,000 works. Each time I visit the museum it’s all almost all new to me. Of course I always enjoy revisiting my favorite things…
things like this great doorway from the Issac Gillet House. It was created by the famous American artist, Jonathon Goldsmith back in 1821. Goldsmith lived from 1783 to 1847. He and all the other artists I admire are not forgotten when I leave the museum. I try to get to know these people by reading their biographies. Many become my “dead friends”.
Viewing exceptional art, viewing anything beautiful, becomes us. Just walking through the elegant rooms of this museum is energizing and uplifting. Come along. Look at this!
a close up of a Louis XV Savonnerie carpet with royal arms made of wool and hemp somewhere around 1740.
And these Tiffany lamps dated 1898 to 1910 made by The Tiffany glass and decorating company of New York.
And when we pass a window don’t forget to look outside at the beautiful snow-covered garden below.
We pass gallery talks in progress. This one is all about Monet and other Impressionists. I stick around for a few minutes, but it’s time for a ‘sit down’.
I find an empty table in the Atrium, order a cappuccino and relax for a bit with a little letter writing. I tell my friend in Rhode Island all the things I’ve been seeing. Sharing doubles the joy you know. That’s why I enjoy sharing my Country Inn Days with you too.
I’m getting hungry. I could stay at the museum longer and have some food in the charming restaurant here.
This restaurant has a view of nature out its windows – beauty in art, beauty in nature, and culinary beauty to boot, but no, after my cappuccino I must get back to the Inn. Once there the magic of Country Inn Days will transform me from Inn Guest into Inn Chef and I will create a masterpiece of my own.
It’s called Dinner
Ingredients: 1 onion, 1 small carrot, 1 celery stick, 2 cloves of garlic, 3 tbsp olive oil, 14oz minced beef, 1 and 1/2 cups red wine, 1 cup tomato puree, a small handful of oregano, parsley to garnish, 1 and 1/2 cup beef stock, 1 lb tagliatelle pasta, salt and pepper
1. Chop vegetables finely. Heat oil, add vegetables and cook over low heat 5 to 7 minutes.
2. Add the minced beef and cook 5 minutes. Stir in wine and mix well.
3. Cook 2 minutes. Add tomato puree, herbs and stock. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Cover pan and cook slowly for 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile cook pasta.
6. Add a salad and a glass of wine.
7. Light a candle or two and enjoy!
I am now transformed once again from Inn Chef back into Inn Guest. Ah, the magic of Country Inn Days!
And though this particular Country Inn Day held many other delights, I will leave you here, sharing more next time. So until we meet again, be sure to exercise your own imagination and live richly experiencing much beauty. Remember
Leave behind ordinary. It’s not enough!