It may be an art museum, but it’s actually a history museum. There are paintings and sculptures from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas – some over 500 years old. It is impossible to get through it all in only two hours. With its high ceilings, fancy wallpaper and mirrors, and incredibly diverse collection, the museum is a work of art itself.
I have too many favorites. I saw amazing glass work by Richard Ritter and Frederick Carder. I saw a rough-surfaced abstract by Enrico Donati (1909-2008), who is reported to have used coffee grounds, sand, and vacuum debris in his work. I saw masks and figures from Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. I saw a stone figure of god-of-death Michtlantecuhtli (I love that name!!) from Mexico dated sometime between 1100 and 1500. It had slits to allow incense smoke to rise out of it. There was even a gold bird from Costa Rica. Since many of the artifacts from that area were used to make noise, it is hypothesized that the eyes were originally tiny bells whose clappers have fallen out. I also liked the Jain shrine with its intricate design and tiny figures behind the windows. In the seventeenth century the central doors would have opened to reveal one of the twenty-four holy men in Jainism, but they must have been busy when I went because I didn't see them.
255 Beach Drive NE, Saint Petersburg, Florida
Written by Daniel Noe, WayOutLife.com
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