Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MERIDA: NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ROMAN ART

Merida has the largest collection of Roman ruins in Spain, and, fittingly, it also boasts a superb museum of Roman art.  Although the museum was first opened in 1986, it looks much newer than that.  Everything about it is great: its collection, its architecture, its presentation.

If there were any criticism, it might be that the building's exterior is not as dramatic as its interior.  Here, first, is a shot of the museum's main entrance.


OK, but it doesn't provide a real intimation of what is in store inside.  The museum space consists generally of a dramatic central hall with three stories of open-ended exhibit galleries on either side.  Here is a shot of that central hall.


The architect has carried the arch and stylized brickwork motif throughout, as shown in the following photos of a few of the galleries.  Nice.





Each exhibit is given ample space, adding to an overall clean, uncluttered appearance.  And lighting is outstanding for a museum.  Moreover, the exhibits are well labelled and almost always interesting.  They vary from statues to mosaics to fragments of pediments, as well as smaller artifacts.






I loved this last mosaic of a hunter who seems baffled by his prey.

And here is a statue of Aion-Chronos, the God of Infinite Time.  The statue is not so great, but the title is certainly provocative.


I spent a good deal of time--and a vast number of shots--trying to capture the interior architecture, which proved more difficult than I had anticipated.  The arches and intricate brick masonry come through in person but are more difficult to show photographically.  Here are a couple of shots that worked OK, I thought.



I liked the symmetry and repetition of these shots.  I also thought the railing in the first shot helped to guide the viewer's eye to the vanishing point.

Toward the end of my visit, I was able to catch a shot of the afternoon sun streaming through one of the museum's clerestory windows.


A fitting exclamation point, I thought.

John

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