[A few non-cruising posts while we are away from the water. If you’re not interested, check back after January 5th, when we return to Beatitude. At this point in our cruising career, my returning to work and our adventures on land are just as much a part of our cruising lives as being on the water. Hence, they are chronicled here. I hope you enjoy!]
The main reason we stopped by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta before continuing northward was to visit the marvelous Cantoria (“singing loft”) of Lucca Della Robbia. I’ve included these works in my lectures on the History of Christian Art, but I had never seen them in person… until now. By God’s great grace, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence is undergoing renovation, and three of the ten marble panels that make up the Cantoria are at the High. These panels are displayed with hand-decorated choir books from the Florence Cathedral and a lectern designed to hold them. The cantoria, which was sculpted in the 1430s, depict the celebratory text of Psalm 150 with jubilant children singing, playing instruments and frolicking to music. They are absolutely marvelous!
To top off a wonderful time of admiring these exquisitely made panels, we walked upstairs to a setting of The Forty Part Motet by sound artist Janet Cardiff. English composer Thomas Tallis (ca. 1505-1585), composed a beautiful choral work in forty parts called Spem in Alium Nunquam Habui in 1556. The title translates to “No Other is my Hope.” Fifty-nine singers were recorded separately, and all voices are played back in unison via forty individual loudspeakers on tripods (one speaker for each choral part). What results is eleven minutes of absolute heaven. I closed my eyes and felt as if I was in a large medieval cathedral immersed in beautiful worship. Cindy was transported a little higher and felt as if she were in heaven itself, listening to the worship of the saints and angels around the throne. Following is a YouTube presentation of Tallis’ Spem in Alium performed by the Tallis Scholars, but it’s not the same as being there.
After leaving the High, we drove a few hours to Greenville, SC to visit, for the first time, the Bob Jones University Museum which houses the largest collection of medieval and renaissance religious art in the Western Hemisphere. Although most of the works are of “lesser” artists, it was quite impressive and enjoyable. This is quite unexpected from what is known as a “fundamentalist” conservative Christian university. We then drove on to Asheville, NC, where we spent the evening in anticipation of visiting the Biltmore estate in the morning prior to continuing on to Ohio. Of course, as shared in a previous post, the rapid deterioration of Cindy’s father put that on hold and we drove straight through to Ohio.
Just four more days until we return to Beatitude and the Bahamas. I’ll likely update with one more blog post before then about our time in Boston.