Destinations, Travel List, Travel Tips

Great places to “taste” the 7 arts

Sculpture: Constantin Brâncuşi’s sculptures at Tirgu Jiu

The Romanian artist was voted one of the most important creators of his time, his works, such as Madame LR, being sold for no less than almost 30  million euros. Many of these works of art are now part of private collections, so there are plenty of them most of us can’t have access to. However, there is hope left for the ones fascinated by modern art: if you live in Romania or come here as a tourist and get the chance to visit Tirgu Jiu, all you have to do is… take a walk in the park. You will get the chance to see the world-famous sculptural ensemble which includes The Endless Column, The Kiss Gate and The Table of Silence, all of them simple as composition but strong as symbolism.

The Silence Table, for example, surrounded by 12 chairs, represents the table at which combatants would sit before a battle. Almost 30-meter tall, the Endless Column was dedicated by the creator to the soldiers who had died in 1916 during The First World War. Later, the communists planned to get rid of the monument because it didn’t fit to the art promoted by the party; fortunately, their plans remained just plans. Now, after being restored, the column still dominates the surroundings. The Kiss gate, through its shape, was created to suggest the triumph of life over death, thus the three sculptures suggesting the same message and state of mind.

Painting: Salvador Dali Museum at St. Petersburg, Florida

There are very few people who have never heard of both the art and eccentricity of the great Spanish artist. And out of them there are even fewer who could say that they are not fascinated by the surrealist images that seem to come straight out of our wildest and yet personal dreams. This is why the museum, which has the biggest and diverse collection of paintings and drawings belonging to the artist (together with the one in Spain), is always filled with tourists. They can get the chance to see ‘in flesh’ 96 original oil paintings and more than 1300 other creations of Dali, ranging from simple sketches, to Cubist and of course, Surrealist masterpieces.

The museum hosts special exhibitions, taking into consideration everything that could be related to Salvador Dali, in order to provide a complex image of what he really meant for the world. Gems, drawings, famous paintings such as Girl with curls, Portrait of Gala or Self-portrait, all these will stimulate any art lover to spend an entire afternoon here, together with others having the same passion as them. In fact, 6 out of 10 tourists come from abroad and in total a few million people have come to the museum so far.

Architecture: La Sagrada Familia by Gaudi

It is definitely his masterpiece and one of the most famous architectural monuments in the world. Gaudi was indeed a genius who revolutionized architecture with his way of perceiving shapes. But even for a gifted man like he was, the cathedral was a true challenge as he worked at its project for 43 years! The entire construction is filled with symbols, all of them related to the Christian world. The details are also truly amazing: originally there had to be 18 spears: 4 for the sacred family, 12 for the apostles; the tallest had to represent Christ.

Unfortunately, Gaudi died in 1926 giving room to a lot of controversy: should the cathedral be finished the way it is believed that the architect wanted it to be or should someone else innovate and bring a new light to it? The question remains while the cathedral is still waiting for an outcome. Until then tens of thousands of people, both specialists or simple beauty-lovers come every year to pay homage to one of the most amazing religious buildings in the world. The cathedral changed everything: now all roads lead to Barcelona.

Music: the Vienna State Opera

The Vienna State Opera is considered by most to be one of  the best concert location in the world. To begin with, it is the oldest in the German-speaking countries as it was built between 1863 and 1869. Numerous performances took place since then until the Second World War dramatically affected it . The stage and about 150.000 costumes were destroyed then, thus giving a great shock to the cultural life of the time. Fortunately, the opera was reopened in 1955 and continues to attract numerous music-lovers all over the world.

Now the opera offers tours, courses of ballet, opera and also special opera shows for children so as to wake their taste for art early. 50 operas and 15 ballets are performed each year during the 300 days, which is how much the season lasts. Now the opera employs about 1000 people, while the budget for 2008 reached 100 million euros, half of which were offered by the state. So, if you really feel like going to a show you are definitely not going to forget, give it a try even if it’s not your type of music. You won’t be disappointed!

Literature: China Modern Literature Museum

Few people may know that the biggest building in the world dedicated exclusively to literature is located in China. The purpose of the building is to bring together and preserve modern literary works, being the most important primary resource in the country. The museum includes several halls dedicated to research, documents or academic exchange, halls that can be used by the people who need a better understanding of literature. However, the museum is far from being a huge silent library: numerous events are taking place here all the time such as speeches, exhibitions and gatherings.

The museum doesn’t have only books however; numerous other exhibits and collections can be found here and the numbers speak for themselves: 300,000 collected items, among them 170,ooo books, 2,100 kinds and 90,ooo copies of magazines, 142 kinds of newspapers, 10,970 handwritten manuscripts, 8,282 photographs, 7,887 letters, 453 taped recordings, 773 videos and 2,959 cultural artifacts. Moreover, numerous works of art decorate the space, creating the perfect atmosphere to lose yourself in the world of modern Chinese literature.

Dance: The Bolshoi Theater

The Bolshoi Theater is a  historic building in Moskow, the home of one of the biggest companies of ballet and opera in the world and also of one of the most influential schools of ballet, whose representations are still highly appreciated both by connoisseurs and simple amateurs of art. It was founded in 1776 by empress Catherine the Great and has functioned in the same building since 1825. Since then the ballet has become more and more complex, after Stalin’s death also gaining international acclaim thanks to tours all around the world.

This year the original building is also to be reopened after being consolidated and renovated as 75 % of its structure had become unstable. About 495 million euros were invested for this purpose, but it was definitely worth the effort: now, famous works, such as The Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty or The Nutcracker are to be played again in the original location, where the legend of the Russian ballet was born.

Movies: Bollywood

India has started to produce movies about 100 years ago and still produces more films than any other country every year. Even though the quality of some movies has been disputed by critics, many managed to succeed on the international movie industry. The movies produced here have a special vibe as most of them include numerous scenes of dancing and singing and colorful traditional costumes. At first, the movies were highly conservative, the female performers being covered by their clothes from head to toes. Now, the situation has started to change, English also starting to be used in the dialogues.

Now there are numerous tours that can take you to film studios to see exactly how the movies are made and how the actors work. For example, you can see the Noida and Mumbai film city or festivals dedicated to the seventh art. You can even meet one of the true legends of the movie industry in India, these actors being as famous there as Johnny Depp or Charlize Theron in USA or Europe. It will definitely worth taking a shot as now Indian movies grow in value year after year and have extended to cover practically every genre and theme.

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