It's All in The Past

Saturday, March 18, 2017

I'm going to dive right in here ---

I feel like I've let the monotony and driving force of monetary gain take control of my life the past few years. I stopped convincing myself to take time to learn for the sake of learning (not as a career move) & appreciate the history and beauty of what others have created just... because.
Since I lost touch with the search for a job related to my major in history, I rejected that passion and curiosity of mine.  I am not sad, I needed to grow in different ways, but I'm at the very least excited to have realized it's finally time to reconnect...

That being said - it's been a while since I've been to a museum. I find this kind of deplorable and out of character for me. I once went all the time. A day at the museum was the most whimsical and fulfilling way to fill my time. I worked at the Slater Memorial Museum at my high school as an intern. I wanted to be an art curator! I entered college as an Art History major and slowly gravitated toward History instead, thinking it would be more fruitful when it came time to find a job. That slowly turned into wanting to be a lawyer and working at some law firms... Now, years later, I'm doing something in which your intellect matters all of zero percent. I kept veering away from the happy part of art and history and closer and closer to how I could be financially successful. How interesting the path life takes us on. It's easy to settle into... The whole making money heartlessly thing. Sometimes I forget I even have any intellect to offer.

It's not true. I mean, I'm not trying to be negative. I guess I just want to say that you shouldn't stop doing something just because you don't think it will make you money. Sometimes it's nice to read and learn just for the sake of sharing knowledge with others, to fill your heart, or to keep up with it in case you want to go back to school for it one day, when it feels right. Don't give up completely on things that don't add up financially. You have to follow the fun in life. Don't get stuck. Or if you do, don't stop doing what you love in one way or another.

Anyway, originally I just wanted to share with you here a few examples of my favorite artworks, museums, and history subjects of all time. Just... because. There are so many, but these were off the top of my head!

Utopia (book) by Thomas More, 1516
Utopia means literally "no place," but has come to mean "ideal place." Coincidence? Not really. This is the first self-acknowledged 'fictional' work to outright describe the world if it were perfect. It's definitely a product of it's time though, as you'll see, as this "perfect" place still includes slavery and class systems. But it sparked a revolution of literature and eventually it's own genres of writing (utopian and dystopian).

Apollo and Daphne by Bernini, 1625
Bernini is and was known for his immaculate, seemingly impossible execution of detail. All of his sculptures and architectural facades are candy to the eye. Here, Daphne is running away from Apollo and turns into a tree so he can't catch her. Who the heck came up with that! 

Architectural Entry for the White House Design Competition by Thomas Jefferson, 1792
Unfulfilled architectural designs are my favorite. It's so interesting to see what people of the past would have created had circumstances or finances allowed. So often their imaginations are mind blowing! Here you see TJ's submission for the competition for who would design the Presidential residence. He lost...

The whole Pre-Raphaelite era, here: Lady Lillith by Rossetti, 1868
The Pre-Raphaelite era began in England in the 1840s by a group of poets. You can see the romantic influence of their writing combined with a medieval / early renaissance color palette. Other favorites include William Holman Hunt and John William Waterhouse.

Kandinsky's first abstract watercolor, 1910
The Great Synthesis movement is awesome. Check those primary colors and wacky-do's. Kandinsky was a very scientific painter, influenced heavily by psychology and biology. These lines lacking form & structure are supposedly representative of cells and the inner being of the artist. His meanings are generally discreet, allowing the viewer to have a personal resonance with each piece.

The Glass House by architect Philip Johnson, 1949
One of my favorite interior and exteriors for purely aesthetic reasons. It's one of the first examples of steel being used in residential architecture. It's so transparently minimal, filled with Knoll furniture, and from the outside looks like a perfect little cube. I don't know where people change their clothes though!

The Slater Memorial Museum, Norwich, CT
Stuffed to the brim with original casts of original works from Florence, Greece, Rome, etc... Casts are no longer allowed to be made, so this is one of the only places in the US where you can see exact forms of original ancient statues. Many original paintings, sculptures, and artifacts line the walls as well. 

Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT
This museum is entirely underrated. Probably because it's not in a major city. This was the first public museum in the United States. It has a plethora of works from Dalí, Van Gogh, Artemesia Gentilleschi, Picasso, and more.

The Soane Museum, London, England
Overwhelmingly packed with treasures from ancient Egypt to Greek columns and Roman busts... John Soane was a wildly successful architect who collected now untouchable goods from his worldly travels. There's one room with walls that continuously unfold to reveal hundreds of paintings.

Into Great Silence (2005):
This is a documentary a Medieval History professor of mine once showed us. It's a deafeningly silent & ambient portrait of one of the most ascetic monasteries in existence. This is the summation of 6 months of immersion by Phlip Gröning. It's lovely to behold such a delicate handling of pure sacredness. 


  1. Thank you so much Dayna for sharing something so personal with us! Wonderful post! My favorite painter is Vermeer; I grew up reading fiction books about his work and later seeking out his paintings in museums. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart with us. <3 Cheers

  2. This was lovely. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to more of these posts!

  3. It would be great if you could make a list with your favorite sustainable, eco-friendly fashion brands! I'm currently making the transition to becoming more conscious in my shopping choices. The only one I know and a favorite of mine is The Reformation and Matt and Nat (by your recommendation!) xx

  4. Hey Dayna, loved this post, it really resonated with me. The arts play such a heavy and often overlooked role in society. Out of curiosity, have you ever taken the Myers Briggs personality test? I'm curious as to what type you are, I got INFJ - your thought process in your writing reminds me a lot of my own. It's a fun and pretty accurate/informative way of understanding how with perceive and process the world around us. Well wishes! x

  5. That's wonderful <3 I am pursuing art history at a graduate level if you ever need someone to discuss the field with! I hope you do return, the art world would love to have you.

  6. This was an absolutely lovely post. I've never really been into art history; I follow your blog for healthy recipes and such, but this really captured my intrigue. Thanks for the piece.

  7. Weird how I suddenly stumble upon this post, but I'm glad I did. I'm currently in a tough spot right now, I'm graduating soon and I have no idea what to do. All my family and friends are trying to push me forward to getting a nice job maybe or further my studies, but honestly I feel stuck. I want to further my studies, I'm just not sure exactly what I want to do it in. I am a biology major now, and I used to feel so passionate about it but now I'm just going thru the motion. I want to feel inspired again. Oh well, wish me luck :)



By Dayna Frazer