It’s no secret that there are numerous notable places in Nashville that are beloved by both tourists and locals alike. From the historic Ryman Auditorium to beautiful Cheekwood, there is an endless list of sites that are thrilling to explore in Music City.
This weekend, Sports & Entertainment Nashville sent a newcomer to Nashville to one of these grand locations – Frist Center for the Visual Arts – to explore some of its latest exhibitions and get a taste of one of the most exquisite art museums in the region.
Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane, Masterpiece Drawings from the Casa Buonarroti
We are all familiar with renowned artist Michelangelo, whose works date back to the 1500s. With styles that are still revered today, the Frist takes the viewer back to the beginning of Michelangelo’s designs. The exhibit features 26 drawings preserved from his family home in Florene, Italy known as Casa Buonarroti. As one explores the display, you’re able to gain insight into the mind of the High Renaissance artist as he created some of the world’s most remarkable architecture.
Just some of the pieces on display include sketches of the double staircase he designed in the famed Luarentian Library and the San Lorenzo façade in Florence. It was incredible to see how these finite details are still intact after hundreds of years of preservation. Having been to Florence and seeing the Luarentian Library in person, the experience almost felt like it had come full circle in seeing how the idea began.
Ink, Silk & Gold – Islamic Art
“They were made neither in the same place nor at the same time. Yet they are linked by the religion of Islam, which has drawn together even distant communities of believers…”
A brief description of what this exhibit has to offer, the Frist features a variety of works that reflect the Islamic culture. One of the standout pieces is that of an incredibly designed door from Cairo, Egypt that was created in the 14th – 15th century. The intricately patterned door features many geometric shapes that draw the eye in.
Another eye-catching piece is that of a 17th – 18th century emerald brooch carved in India. Though small compared to the other works displayed alongside it, the bright emerald green and shiny diamonds are sure to draw any viewer in. Adjacent to the brilliant gemstone is an exquisitely designed Mughal pictorial carpet made in Pakistan around 1590, the most famous style of its kind. Featuring an array of colors from scarlet red to shades of blue with visions of mythical creatures throughout, it is one piece you can’t ignore when exploring the exhibit.
However, my favorite work from the display is the “Pathology of Suspension #6,” a large peach-colored print that incorporates numerous soft tones of pink, blue and orange, creating a serene atmosphere for the observer, and features calligraphic letters of the Persian alphabet along with traditional figures of north India.
Phantom Bodies: The Human Aura in Art
“People often feel the presence of someone when no one is there. The title is derived from the phenomenon known as the ‘phantom limb syndrome’ – when an individual perceives sensation in a lost body part. The phantom limb here symbolizes the memory of wholeness – a longing for a return to what has been lost.
Perhaps the most intriguing exhibit of the three, “Phantom Bodies” almost paradoxes life and death through variety of pieces. From photos of onlookers at a lynching, to abstract works embodying human tragedies, each element of “Phantom Bodies” is one of thought and contemplation.
Just one of the intriguing pieces is a series of photos of female prisoners disguised in Halloween or Easter costumes, to reflect the holidays of “transformation and resurrection.” Dressed in attire ranging from a werewolf to the Easter bunny, the images show how we sometimes don’t see different sectors of society.
Another personal favorite was “Unbearable Lightness of Being,” one of the most cheerful pieces of the exhibit. Combing elements of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, the artist created the work to “emphasize the fragility and intense beauty of life,” using butterfly wings in every color imaginable patterned in a dynamic shape, creating a bright and vivid display.
After exploring just a sample of what the Frist has to offer, it’s no wonder it’s such a renowned institution in Nashville. From its beautiful design to the incredible artwork it houses, the Frist is certainly in a class of its own.