Let’s continue this Kansas City series talking today on The Italian Guest about The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. It represents not just some, but a massive and diverse display of ancient to modern art, spanning numerous cultures and centuries, and offering even the smallest visitors not just a sampling of a few styles of art, but an overarching view of the history of art as a whole. Over 35,000 art objects call the museum home; there is sure to be something that strikes you, isn’t it?!
The museum’s original building, built in 1933, is a beautiful work of art itself. Inside, the galleries are displayed by period from ancient Chinese to European Renaissance, and Impressionism. The new section of the museum, the Bloch Building, designed by outstanding contemporary architect, Steven Holl, features contemporary art, photography, African art, and rotating exhibits. Kid friendly favorites throughout the museum include the European impressionism gallery, ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman gallery (including an actual mummy with its coffin!), American Indian gallery, and immense collection of Asian art, including a complete layout of a Chinese temple.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art appeals to many kinds of visitors, such as little kids who appreciate the giant badminton birdie installations on the 22-acre lawn, or adults who enjoy the play of light in Caravaggio’s “Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness.” I don’t think I saw anyone look at the 5,500 pound shuttlecocks without pointing and smiling a little, and what Museum wouldn’t want such a testament to art’s positive impact?
One of the most treasured works of art the museum holds is Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness by the Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio. Deep red shadows and bright light define the body of Saint John the Baptist in this commanding piece.
I found really interesting checking the contemporary art section of the museum. My favorite piece was the star or flower ( depends how you read it) in the first big picture above. Using just two colors, red and yellow, plus black and white, the artist has created a dazzling image of pulsing energy, held in check by strict geometry.
You’ll find the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art less than a mile northeast of the Country Club Plaza. The museum is free to visit! With the exception of traveling and rotating exhibits (which represent a relatively small portion of the collection of art), admission is free. For additional information, check out the museum’s website.
I love how inspiring a visit to an art museum can be! Since it is self-guided and not in any particular order, you can explore at your leisure. Plan to spend a few hours exploring the galleries, you won’t be disappointed!
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak Street
Kansas City, MO 64111