Several months ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the Getty Museum with friends. Oddly enough this was my first trip; and it certainly won’t be my last. A brisk winter day welcomed us with a cool breeze and slightly overcast skies. Sadly, it had rained earlier in the day and the gardens were closed so we concentrated our time indoors.
We spent some time in an excellent exhibit entitled, “The Art of Alchemy”; a wonderfully curated space exploring alchemy and its relation to art and the everyday.
The Getty collection contains a number of stunning religious paintings, one of which I had never seen before – El Greco’s “Christ On The Cross”, an incredible, almost monochromatic take on the subject.
I was really taken with a painting called “Entrance To The Jardin Turc” by French painter Louis-Leopold Boilly. Though my knowledge of French painters is fairly good, this one had escaped me. The light in this piece is what struck me.
Another piece I was unfamiliar with was “Saint Sebastien Tended By An Angel” (Anthony Van Dyck). I love the use of umber and gray in this sketch for the painting.
The museum was incredibly busy and it was great to see families and groups of friends enjoying the collections and learning about art, deepening their appreciation. I left inspired by new visuals; and am excited to return and explore even more.
Located in Harbin, China (which gets it’s weather from Siberia) the festival typically opens each January and runs for one month. Given how long the winters last, the sculptures generally stay up for a few months.
“Sculpture” is perhaps an understatement, given the size and scale of some of the structures. This is an enormous undertaking, clearly.
When the Songhua River freezes over, workers begin to carve out sections and transport them to the site. There, ice sculptors use a variety of saws, picks, and chisels to create these fantastical shapes.
Some are smaller and delicate, like the one pictured above. Others are gargantuan, like this one:
Sculptures and structures of all shapes and sizes dot the landscape, all internally lit, emitting an ephemeral glow at night.
I’m fascinated by both the artistry and the effort. This not only takes a massive amount of creativity but a herculean effort to build all of this.
To see more images and learn more about the festival, visit their official site here.