Today I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Matter of the Crown by Linda Ferreri, available in paperback and for kindle. Perhaps not entirely my usual kind of read, but I really liked the look of this thriller, combining a historical thread and the art world detail.
The Crown of the Andes, one of the world’s most precious and beautiful sacred objects, has been stolen right off the stage at Satterling’s Auction House in New York City. Five pounds of magnificent baroque gold that ransomed the Inca Ruler Atahaulpa, and hundreds of perfect Colombian emeralds, all gone without a trace! Will this legendary treasure be destroyed for its gold and emeralds? One woman is dead and another one in hot pursuit.
It’s a real pleasure to welcome author Linda Ferreri to Being Anne, sharing her favourite art museums…
Which is the favorite candy in front of a child in a candy store? I have many favorite art museums, but I will call out only three here and explain why I love these in particular.
In New York City, J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library is a museum. Have you ever noticed what happens to people who walk into a great room filled with books? They become reverent. Perhaps they were taught to “behave” in such places, by teachers and parents shushing them as children. But I think it has to do with the distraction from everything else that so many books cause. Mr. Morgan collected books, music, poems, manuscripts, all manner of writings by human beings over the centuries, handwritten, typed, printed, drawn, illuminated, bound and unbound, and more.
And he built a magnificent building in which to house them. For all persons who write and read, all who appreciate how the human hand communicates words, that building is a temple of worship. Because of its beauty, its history and the amazing treasures within, to say nothing of its elegant location in New York City, all who enter are changed forever.
The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture in Athens, Greece is one of my favorites for several reasons. The museum administration makes it a joyful place to visit; the exhibition spaces are beautifully laid out and lit in the main neoclassical building near the national garden, and the restaurant on the roof is all pleasure. In fact, the museum is growing with more than one gallery. The Benaki’s chief attraction for me is the stunning collection of Greek Byzantine art. In the West, we don’t see much of that. Have you ever given thought to the importance of an icon in religion and art? It’s worth the time. It’s worth research, too.
And then there is a walk through the Plaka district in Athens with shop after shop selling little icons. Do artists still paint stunning icons? Of course they do, and beautifully. The colors are vibrant and the images powerful. They connect those of us here on earth with higher authority, and with answers for which we pray. While the ancient art in Athens is magnificent and among the most important set of objects on Earth, the Benaki Museum offers something very different and very important. For the most part, the works are anonymous which adds to their mystery.
Have you noticed? I like house museums. I like the history of the building and not only what’s in it because I’m quite interested in the history of collecting art and because the context tells so much about many objects. So one of my all time favorites is the museum that is no longer where it should be, and that is the Barnes Collection in Philadelphia that moved from Latches Lane in Merion, Pennsylvania to Center City Philadelphia. The collection is the staggering assemblage of paintings, impressionist and nearly impressionist, by Dr. Albert Barnes (1872-1951) who was shunned by the establishment in the art world. The legal history of his art collection is at least as interesting as what’s in it. He bought pretty much right off the easel and hung it where he alone decided it belonged. So there is all of that Barnesian theory to study in that museum, as well. Interestingly, that was the subject he wanted us to study. Some of us are more interested in the artwork itself these days.
I can’t write about the place where the artwork in my next novel is located. That would be cheating.
Thank you Linda – I really enjoyed that piece, and I’ve added a few Wikimedia links in case others would like to read more (as I did). Wishing you every success with The Matter of the Crown.
About Linda Ferreri
Linda Ferreri is a well-known art lawyer and author. Her books include novels about the Crown of the Anes, a novella entitled The King of UNINI, and whimsical hand-illustrated iBooks. She is known, also, for her drawings. She divides her time between Italy and the United States, and lectures widely around the world about art and history. Her next novel is in progress.