I mentioned briefly my road trip to Fort Worth last week end in another thread, and Lidja@ asked about that trip, so this thread is an extended answer to why I decided to make a 1700mile road trip last weekend to the Kimbell Art Museum to see this exhibit -
I became a paying member of the Kimbell Art Museum over eight years ago when I became aware of the Kimbell's exhibit of Caravaggio and his Followers in Rome -
A great blog about the Caravaggio exhibit that explains better than I can why I loved it
The Caravaggio Exhibit was a gathering of paintings from many European Museums scattered all over Europe brought together in one forum at the Kimbell in Fort Worth, and I really wanted to see it, badly. Lidja asked if I am an artist, and the answer is no, I am not a painter, nor a real artist, but I am a "would be photographer" of sorts, who enjoys looking at great images, and to me, Caravaggio's images stand among the most amazing, in the use of color, light and shading, which is what photography is really all about. I became a member of the Kimbell to make sure I could get to see this exhibit at a time that fit my schedule which was between Christmas and New Years in 2011. I continued on their mailing list and returned again in 2017 to see the Casanova and the Seduction of Europe Exhibit
I was on the mailing list for The Lure of Dresden Exhibit which was this winter and is departing on April 28. When I finally decided I wanted to go, I looked at my schedule and felt that the weekend of March 9-10 was the best choice and my spouse and I discussed flying to Fort Worth or driving.
While the flight to Dallas Fort Worth is only about 2.5 hours to 4 hours or so, the actual travel time for us including arriving 2 hours early before flying and including a drive of about 1+ hours to get to the IND airport makes the actual travel time 6-7 hours and when we arrive we have to rent a car drive to Fort Worth which can add another hour.
We can drive it in about 13 hours, and if we split the travel into two days can see the country side in our own vehicle of choice. We frequently stop in Bentonville Arkansas to visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art on the way to Texas -
So when we decided to drive to Texas we thought we would have moderate spring weather with dry pavement and calm winds. What we experienced driving to Texas, down through southern Illinois and Arkansas to eastern Texas, was winds gusting to 45-50+ mph with sheets of torrential rain and visibilities limited to less than adequate much of the time. Truck traffic was heavy and the trucks threw up a wall of spray behind them that rendered the road around them opaque. Even with my windshield wipers running wide open, clear visibility was very fleeting. My vehicle performed well, tracked reliably with great traction and no episodes of hydroplaning which truly amazed me. Had I known that we would be dealing with winterstorm Ulmer both ways, I might have chosen to fly after all.
The Lure of Dresden exhibition is beautiful - the large scale paintings allowed one to study them carefully and despite being covered by glass panes, there were NO reflections and the lighting was even and without highlights - I have been to many exhibits in museums where reflections and poor lighting really detract greatly from the experience. I have never experienced this at the Kimbell, I give them high marks for presentation. One other advantage of the smooth even lighting is that is allows an iPhone to capture the images in a lovely manner without interfering with other viewers. Photography without flash and tripods was expressly allowed at the exhibit. I plan to use some of them for my desktop monitor backgrounds from time to time.
Bernardo Bellotto's large scale landscape paintings deserve a wide audience - they are lovely to look at and admire and to study for inspiration. One painting of his I really studied was so three dimensional and life like, that I had to look at the surface of the paint from the very edge plane of the image itself to see that the surface was truly two dimensional and flat, that the paint itself had not been built up to increase the impression of 3 dimensions.
I discovered at the exhibit that Bellotto had used a camera obscura to facillitate creating his images - I first learned of artists use of the camera obscura from David Hockney's book "Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters" - a book I recommend highly to folks interested in European art after the 14th century
The Guardian link above is a bit spammy, so look at in Reader view if your can - the article itself is pretty good.
I have enjoyed learning that painters have used "cameras" ( dark rooms with a pinhole ) for years to outline their paintings and then paint them , and now photographers capture their images with a camera (obscura) digitally, and then digitally edit them to more match their visual impressions at the time of shooting. Painting and photography are gradually growing together in a sort of way.
So Lidja, this is my rambling answer to your question about why I would decide to drive 1700 miles to an art exhibit. If they're good enough or great enough, why wouldn't one?