Check out Matt's private tour of the Museum of Fine Arts.In his two years as a Bostonian, Matt Light has spent a lot more time at Gillette Stadium than he has in downtown Boston. In fact, until we arranged to meet him there, Matt had never paid a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts. Please understand, Matt's no dummy. He was an honors student in high school and earned that Purdue degree on more than the college's playing field. So when we suggested he continue his cultural education with a tour of the MFA, he was delighted at the prospect.
And who better to conduct the tour than MFA director Malcolm Rogers? The football player and art historian, a genuine Patriots fan, enjoyed their encounter, strolling from gallery to gallery and viewing what Rogers considers to be "the top 10 art works every Bostonian needs to know."
As the two men entered the museum's collection of ancient Greek art, Rogers explained that "nobody understood an athlete's physical beauty better than the Greeks." Matt was particularly struck by the meticulous work that went into the construction and painting of decorative pottery. "They don't do things like this anymore," he said, noticing the geometry and detailing of bowls and urns.
In the Egyptian wing, Matt the builder was impressed by the artistry of sculpted figures and powerful stone columns. "To think," he said, "they carved these with handmade tools. Look at the lines and angles."
Rogers, pleased with his student's interest in design, form and line, replied, "That's how you begin to understand about beauty." Matt had a harder time when surrounded by 16th-century European paintings. "It even smells old in here," he complained. But, looking up at a giant painting of hunting dogs attacking a wild boar, he exclaimed, "That's what I want in my house!"
On the way to the Impressionist gallery, Matt turned to Rogers and asked, "Could you give me a quick definition of Impressionism?" Rogers explained that artists of that movement were "in love with the effects of light; they used quick brush strokes, and because their work was so different from what came before, it was thought of as sacrilegious." He pointed out a soft Pissarro landscape and a swirly, disturbing landscape by Van Gogh, to which Matt responded, "I like outdoors stuff." The two men agreed that they could imagine having a picnic in the Pissarro scene, but picnicking inside the Van Gogh, said Matt, "That could make you sick."
Rogers turned to Van Gogh's painting Postman Joseph Roulin. "His gnarled hands," he pointed out with empathy, "show a lifetime of work."
Matt was engaged, noticing the use of color and the differences between artists' techniques. He vowed to return to the museum, even if he thought Picasso was taking drugs when he developed Cubism-a style the left tackle was unfamiliar with and found "completely strange."
When the tour was over, Rogers turned to Matt and pumped his hand. "Have a good season," he urged. To which Matt replied, "We'll put a little art in our step."
Check out Matt's private tour of the Museum of Fine Arts.