Mo, Monks, and the MFA

by Becky D. July. 31, 2009 7218 views []

the website for Maureen's documentary film on the Little Brothers of Saint Francis, Ridiculous and Sublime [] []

My dear Maureen has been working for the past five years with the Little Brothers of Saint Francis on Mission Hill (neighborhood of Boston) - she's producing a beautiful documentary film on the brothers - [] - when I mentioned that Brian and I had a few comps left for the Titian exhibit at the MFA, she immediately thought of them, and so she and I spent a wonderful afternoon with six of the seven brothers exploring the exhibit and the museum, then sitting down to dinner, and talking about art and beauty the whole time. Completely fascinating experience. You really get a lot of smiles walking down the street like this …

On the way to the exhibit, we passed through the Koch Gallery, which, in my opinion, has the best paintings in the MFA. Can't pass up the opportunity to get a photo of six brothers of Saint Francis with a full-figure painting of Saint Francis. Not surprisingly, several other people in the gallery came over to snap this shot too.

I'm sorry that this is blurry - this whole series is somewhat blurry and grainy without a flash - but I just loved watching them take it all in

You can't take photos in the special exhibits, but we had a wonderful time exploring a very beautiful exhibit (which I was seeing for the 3rd and final time). We had a little time to explore the rest of the museum before heading back to the friary - this is Brother Diddacus and Monet.

Brother Joseph thought it was really interesting that I'm not a fan of modern art, so he asked me to take him to the modern art section so he could argue with me, which really was a lot of fun. This is Maureen and Brother Joseph discussing an ugly painting by a German expressionist.

A few weeks ago, I saw Maureen just after she saw this exhibit for the first time, and she was still in ecstasy over it - this video installation exhibit thing is several random people singing along to Madonna songs, and really getting in to it. They're all putting on the moves and getting their inner diva on - it's completely fascinating to watch. Maureen and a few of the brothers were just about ready to start singing along, but it was time to go …

Another shot of Maureen and the brothers as we're walking back to our cars. She tells me that since she spends a lot of time with the monks during the process of making her film, including going with them to the supermarket, to parks and so on, that this scene is actually very common and she's never seen what it looks like to be walking among them.

Sitting in the living room for a few minutes before dinner

The brothers thanked us for bringing them to the exhibit by inviting us to join them for dinner. Eight hungry brothers, and two very hungry ladies devoured a delicious and heart warming meal on a rainy afternoon after spending the afternoon looking at art, which always makes me hungry.

I have so many photos of Maureen with blurry hands …

Once I admitted that I had examples of my work in my car (since my car is our portable storage unit for our booth at the market) Brother Joseph insisted I bring them in and show everyone. They wouldn't stop oohing and aahing, and Maureen and I were both turning several shades of red - several of my images are of her. She's spent five years taking photographs of these men, and they teased her like her own big brothers (and Mo already has 3 big brothers) when they got to see the mirror turned on her. Also, please note the Klondike bar wrappers on the table. These guys really knew the way to my heart.

Then it was Brother Anthony's turn - he showed me his beautiful portfolio of religious iconography. Really beautiful work

The conversation continued well after the food was gone, the show and tell was over, and Brother James (the founder, and the oldest) had gone to bed, and everyone listened intently as each person talked about their favorite paintings from the day.

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