We go to many museums to see the art, but I don’t care to photograph famous paintings and sculptures—there are better reproductions available on the Web than I could take. I do snap shots of more obscure exhibits and bits of the building’s architecture, but I’m also always looking for interesting photographic subjects that are not necessarily officially on display. That’s the main theme of this month’s exhibit.
Courtyard in the Alhambra
The Moorish architecture of the Alhambra in Granada is one of the most famous tourist sites in the world. To avoid the crowds we paid for an individual guided tour in 2006 that began just as the last group of the day had proceeded ahead of us. Even so if you look closely at the lower right corner of this courtyard shot you can see a slice of another photographer’s figure I couldn’t quite crop out.
Rotunda of the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin
This Berlin museum featuring German art has a magnificent rotunda just inside the entrance. Contrasting illumination in the galleries visible through the doorway made my camera turn them a cheery yellow, nicely complementing the blue-hued dome overhead. Taken 2017.
Courtyard of the Bargello museum, Florence
While tourists jam the Uffizi to look at the paintings, the Bargello next door—which houses sculptures and other artifacts—is almost deserted on this November day in 2017. Although the light from above is diffuse you can make out a patch of blue in the uppermost window.
Maenad and Chantilly Landscape
The Chateau at Chantilly is sited on a vast estate with an enormous stable converted into an equestrian museum, gorgeous gardens, and woods including an imitation hamlet. Indoors there’s a lovely art collection including this early landscape of the site when the only visitors were invited members of high society. The reclining maenad seems to gaze longingly at the scene while clutching her tambourine. Maenads were known for their bacchanalian countryside cavorting, but it looks like her dancing days may be over since she seems to have just been bitten by a snake. Taken in 2018.
Window at Fontainebleau
Three light sources—the dim interior of the chateau, the electric chandelier overhead, and the brightly sunlit wing across the courtyard—make a challege for any camera. My little point-and-shoot Panasonic did a pretty good job in 2014, but I much later I brought some of the surrounding art out of the darkness using my current favorite editing software: Luminar AI.
Selfie with the Mona Lisa
On our 2014 visit to the Louvre we were appalled by the way the members of the crowd around the world’s most famous painting were being allowed to take photos even using flash. But I have to admit this couple looked pretty cute even though Leonardo’s subject seems to look askance at them.
Tea in the Palazzo Pfanner
The dim light in this museum— occupying the lavish home of a German doctor who settled in Lucca, Italy—made for tough photography, but I was pleased with the way the diffuse light and shadow enhanced the scene in this room. Taken 2017.
Light Floods the Met
On a Spring day in 2017 a reclining statue in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art seems to gaze in ecstasy at the sunlight flooding in through the windows overhead while visitors focus on their cellphones.
Stained Glass in the Milan Cathedral
This vast cathedral is crammed with enough art to qualify it as a museum, but my favorite was the colored light streaming across the church to splash onto the stone pillars at right. Taken 2017.
As I stood in the lobby of the New Britain Museum of Modern Art in Connecticut it took me a while to realize that this fellow guarding the entrance to the galleries was actually a hyper-realistic sculpture by Marc Sijian. Taken 2017.
Frederic Church’s Paintbox
Famed American landscape artist Frederic Church built his fanciful mansion, Olana, on a hillside near Hudson, New York. It contains none of his own paintings, but does preserve some of his painting equipment. Taken 2017.
Paula in Reims Cathedral
My wife contemplates the scene in a side aisle of one of France’s great gothic cathedrals, 2018. Hanging off her shoulder: a bag from a New York City Public Library exhibit titled “Love in Venice.”
St. Paul’s Cathedral Viewed from Tate Modern
The view from in this London art museum cafe window of Christopher Wren’s nearby masterpiece creates a striking contrast. Taken 2014.
Viewing the Galerie des Glaces
Published photos of this famous mirrored gallery in the Versailles palace are misleading—this what it looked like on a typical day in 2014.
OTHER PHOTO ALBUMS
SNOW FALLING ON BAINBRIDGE
PEOPLE ELSEWHERE GALLERY
ABOUT PAUL BRIANS. Paul Brians does extensive volunteer photography for the Bainbridge Island Land Trust. He created the photo book Four Seasons on Bainbridge Island (2010), was principal photographer for Natural Bainbridge (2019)and contributed the majority of photographs in Dave and Alice Shorett’s Thirty Walks on Bainbridge (2020) published for the benefit of the Land Trust. He also took photos for some years for Bainbridge in Bloom. He has had six exhibitions of his prints on the Island and his pictures have appeared in many regional publications and on Bainbridge-related Web sites. He posts photos daily on Facebook and is an active member of the Bainbridge Island Photo Club.