Bedazzled by eggs extraordinaire - The Fabergé ones, of course!!

Traipsing along the cobble-stone rues on the look-out for a patio with a view, my pink-sneaker clad feet were on a mission to explore, discover and document the ordinary as well as the extra-ordinary, when, lo and behold, I happened to stumble upon an exhibition quite beyond extraordinaire!!  Luckily for me, I was fortunate enough to be in town at the most opportune of times, as le Museé des Beaux Arts de Montréal was playing host to a dazzling collection of bejewelled eggs.  Yes, eggs.  The Fabergé ones, of course.  Did you, perchance, think otherwise?

Showcasing over 240 treasured objects and silverware that once belonged to the Tsars of imperial Russia, including 4 of the remaining 43 Fabergé eggs, the exhibit offers us a rare glimpse into the world of grandiosity and opulence.  “Fabulous Fabergé:  Jeweller to the Czars” runs from June 14th until October 5th, 2014 and is an absolute “must see” when visiting Montréal.  This exclusive Canadian exposition is the first of its kind, with all of the pieces on temporary loan from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and is the largest collection of Fabergé artefacts outside of Russia. 

Not only is the exhibit a stunning and visually arresting representation of the privileged lives of the Romanovs, it is also a sombre walk through the annals of history, documenting the tragic end of an era with the ushering in of a revolution that brutally transformed the face of an empire.  On display are gilded picture frames, ornamental vases and ostentatious fragments of wealth, objects that symbolized power and over the top decadence, a peek into the luxurious lifestyle of a select aristocratic few.

The artistic genius behind the scenes was none other than Carl Fabergé, jeweller not only to the Tsars, but also to the moneyed upper echelons of European society.  It was upon the commission of a gold jewel encrusted Easter egg from Tsar Alexander 111 in 1885 to his wife, Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, that propelled the House of Fabergé into an exclusive stratosphere, that of proprietors of sumptuous luxury and extravagance to the blue-blooded elite. 

Bestowed with countless orders and commissions, such as “Supplier by Special Appointment to the Imperial Court”, as well as garnering a Gold Medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1900, the House of Fabergé had firmly established its position as one of the most prestigious creators of priceless objets d’art, its name synonymous with master craftsmanship of the finest kind. 

And, just how much were those eggs??

Come tag along with me as I ooh and aaahh at jewels and silverware extraordinaire – treasured objects of the last Tsars of imperial Russia, remnants and reminders of an era that was both grandiose yet tragic.

Next week - Actually, the week after next, as I’m still adhering to my summertime posting schedule of every other week.

Next post – Wed, October 8th.  Where to next??  Stay tuned!!

Coming soon – The Kid’s escapades in Portugal, where luggage is lost, the weather is cold and Auntie Nora is nowhere in sight?  Or, is she??

A day at the museum (or not!) in appreciation of street art in Montreal

How does one narrowly miss an opportunity of a lifetime?  By sleeping in late, not catching the 8:20am suburban train and by not reading the fine print, just to name a few.  And let’s not even get into the fact that most museums in Montréal are closed on Mondays.  So, guess which day I had randomly chosen for my cultural art appreciation “to do” list?  Yep, you guessed it, as that would be the first day of the week, the one following Sunday.  Yikes!!  Pulling and tugging at the locked down doors of the Museé des Beaux Arts de Montréal, I was getting grumpier by the minute, irate that the entranceway was stuck, inextricably jammed shut, denying me access to the treasures that were housed within. 

I was quite the frazzled sight indeed, a middle-aged ol’ Auntie, huffing and puffing; ready to blow that damned door down, when an unsuspecting tap on the shoulder momentarily halted me in my tracks.  Excusez-moi, madame, mais le museé et fermé aujourd’hui”.  Say what?  You’re kidding, right?  Not.  Open.  Closed.  Locked.  Bolted.  Down.  Shut.

You’d think, seasoned globe-trotter that I am, that I would have at least had a smidgen of sense to peek at the ever so helpful handy dandy signage, which spelled out, in both French and English, the museum’s opening and closing hours.  So much for all of the so-called wisdom I apparently hadn’t retained in my 35+ years of wandering and exploring, neglecting to take notice of the most rudimentary of observances.   A tad red-faced that my door bashing antics had garnered a small audience of onlookers, all doubled over in hysterics (thankfully, only tourists, not locals), I could only hope and pray that there were no You Tube videos posted of said highly entertaining event.  LOL!!   Laugh till you cry.  Double yikes!!

So now what?  Dejected that my highly anticipated sojourn into the realm of abstract and Picasso was now relegated to another day of the week, I was determined to forge on and seek out art of an uniquely different kind.  What better place, therefore, than the rues and avenues of this bustling metropolis, with every which corner a showpiece of creativity and ingenuity? 

The blasted museum had actually done me a favour, for had it not been for their stringent opening and closing hours, I would never have set off in quest of the unknown, in appreciative wonder of street art at its best.  Thus, on I meandered, with camera in one hand and quill and parchment in the other, on a mission to document a day in the life of la ville de Montréal.

And, so, on I traipsed, eager to immerse myself in the pulse and soul of the city and soak up the feel of this uniquely French Canadian metropolis, on a digital sojourn to rival even the best that National Geographic has to offer.

Looks like the Van Gogh’s and Rembrandts will have to wait, as I had other fish to fry, mainly snapping the catch of the day, pics of local art at its finest.

Come wander along with me on a photographic journey along the rues and avenues of la belle ville de Montréal, in an art appreciation course of the Pink Sneaker inspired kind.

Next week – Still on summertime posting schedule, so next post will be on Wed Sept 24th.  Stay tuned!!

Coming soon – The Kid’s Miss – adventures in Lisbon, where luggage is lost, the weather is cold and cuckoo ol' Auntie Nora is nowhere in sight.