A Visit to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

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A group of us Arts and Music students used the day on Wednesday to go into the city to visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It was a cold, breezy day so we were all bundled up in jackets and hats. As we got off the E train and walked toward the museum, its appearance was not what I expected it to be. The museum was an elegant, beautiful building made of what looked to be marble; not the big, brick monstrosity I had expected. Once we walked into the museum, it was even more elegant on the inside. The marble staircase had sculptures on each side leading up to the rotunda where white Christmas lights were strung around the banister in decoration for the Christmas season.

Saint Catherine by El Greco was found in the European Old Master Paintings section of the museum. A brief history of Saint Catherine stated that she was widely renowned for her learning and wisdom, so much so that the Roman emperor Maximilian wanted her to be his wife. Her Christian faith was so strong that she refused the pagan ruler; in retaliation, he ordered that she be tortured. Catherine was bound to a spiked wheel, but freed when a thunderbolt from heaven shattered it. In this painting, she displays the martyr's palm while resting her left arm on a fragment of the wheel; her right hand holds the sword with which she was ultimately beheaded. The painting was painted somewhere in between 1610 and 1614. The style of western art El Greco uses in this piece is called psychological perspective. Saint Catherine is painted looking down which is a symbol of the reverence and respect we are to have for her. Her skin tone is very pale; a symbol of her godliness. In this piece, she seems larger than life; St. Catherine has been painted to take up the majority of the canvas, a symbol of her great importance. The sky in the background is very powerful. It appears dark and mysterious, as though to set the mood for her approaching death. The two objects in her hands are metaphorical...
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