Princes, Philosophers, Angels & Saints

“Tapestry with Narcissus at the fountain,” ca. 1500, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Charles Potter Kling Fund, IL.2016.35.1
November, 2016
Volume 4, Issue 6

Dear Reader,

Trumpeting Angel, 14th century, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, William Francis Warden Fund,

A Feast for the Senses: Art & Experience in Medieval Europe highlights items from The Walters Art Museum‘s world-renowned medieval collection. The exhibit transports visitors to the 12th-15th centuries while using sounds, smells and sights that appeal to modern sensibilities.

Citizens of our Digital Age may be used to the fast-paced world of a virtual reality, but in the Medieval era, people learned through sensory experience.

“In many museums today, visitors experience the artworks by viewing them from afar in silent galleries,” says curator Martina Bagnoli. “A Feast for the Senses will push the boundaries of the art museum by inviting visitors to encounter art with more than just their eyes.”

Enter the exhibit and you walk into a garden, depicted by a large tapestry teeming with animals, plants, flowers and a trickling fountain (pictured at top).

It’s a primordial land, one that appeals to a child-like sense of wonder. Have you ever noticed how a child’s eyes widen with delight when they gaze upon something new?

To Medieval philosophers, the five senses conveyed moral and spiritual meanings, and their artworks depicted a state of wonderment, as though something was being seen through the eyes of a child.

The garden scene at the start of the exhibit could signify paradise. How townspeople would have gazed with awe upon the intricately woven story!

Masterfully, The Walters utilizes the aid of children in helping to describe this exhibit: Wide Angle Youth Media filmed garden scenes and sounds at Ladew Gardens, in Monkton, MD, which are projected on the gallery walls and over loudspeakers.

Another, literal interpretation for the senses deals with smell. To Medieval sensibilities, a foul odor would literally be a sign of “something rotten.” One painting from the 14th century illustrates the death of a widely feared king, who was something of a tyrant and thought to have a corrupt soul. Two of his advisors seem to recoil from the putrid stench of his last breaths.

Censer, Gilded Silver, Germany, 1498, Acquired by Henry Walters, 57.699

In another gallery, visitors’ noses wrinkle at the pleasant fragrance of myrrh. Monks would fill censers with incense, and when used during a church service, each waft of smoke literally carried the prayers of the faithful up to heaven.

Sound, conveyed through bells and chanting, simultaneously alerted the faithful to important moments of a Mass and dispelled the works of the devil.

Spiritual matters aren’t the only themes of the exhibit–another gallery invites visitors to partake in a Medieval banquet, complete with Jasper chalices and intricately etched carving knives.

Another room illustrates how princes and other courtly folk expressed their feelings to their beloveds, and even showcases a heart-shaped book of poetry.

Shakespeare was inspired by these Medieval themes. Even in today’s Technological Age, in which there is a scientific explanation behind every happening, we devote a lot of attention to the supernatural. From Game of Thrones to the lyrics of Taylor Swift–our quest for deeper meaning continues as we search to find the truth in life, and, possibly, a glimpse at greater things.

Now if only we could find a few dragons.

A Feast for the Senses is on view through January 8, 2017.

The Walters Art Museum is located at 600 N. Charles Street in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon Cultural District. It’s open daily from 10 am-5pm and is completely free of charge. Call 410-547-9000 for more information or visit

Baltimore School For the Arts
712 Cathedral Street | 443-642-5167 | Website

French Antilles

Fall Musical: Once On This Island
Friday, November 18 | 7 PM
Saturday, November 19 | 1pm and 7 PM

Come away to the French Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea for BSA’s fall musical.

The winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Musical in 1995, Once On This Island tells the story of Ti Moune, a peasant girl who uses the power of love to bring people of different social classes together.

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets (between $10-$15).

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
1212 Cathedral Street | 410-783-8000 | Website

Marin Alsop

Mahler’s Symphony No. 6
Friday, November 11 | 8 PM
Saturday, November 12 | 8 PM
The Meyerhoff

Marin Alsop, conductor

An acknowledged Mahler authority, Maestra Alsop is passionate about this composer – a man who grappled mightily with his own nature and that of all mankind, illuminating the human condition with every note he wrote. The Sixth Symphony is a massive undertaking – for the composer, for the conductor, for the orchestra and for the audience. Big, dramatic and life-affirming, it packs into one masterpiece Mahler’s lifelong efforts to succeed against the inevitable blows of fate. Not heard at the BSO since 1992, this is a rare opportunity to experience this extraordinary work.

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

BSO Rusty Musicians

BSO Rusty Musicians
Wednesday, November 16 | 8 PM
The Meyerhoff

Marin Alsop, conductor

On November 16th, BSO Rusty Musicians brings together adult musicians and singers with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for a special reading of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 led by Music Director Marin Alsop. No audition required!

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9, Op. 125 “Choral”
I. Allegro ma non troppo
II. Scherzo: Molto vivace
III. Adagio molto e cantabile
IV. Presto – Allegro ma non troppo (Please note that the English translation of the fourth movement text will be used for this event.)

6:30 – 7:20pm Group 1 (Movements 1-3)
6:30 – 7:20pm Mandatory Chorus Rehearsal (JMSH Recital Hall)
7:20 – 7:50pm Break
7:50 – 8:40pm Group 2 with Chorus and Soloists (Movement 4 Only)

Click here for more information or to register.

Center Stage
700 North Calvert Street | 410-332-0033 | Website

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Nov 26 – Dec 23, 2016

By Christopher Hampton
Directed by Hana S. Sharif

“What shocks even now is the sight of two French aristocrats using sex as an instrument of revenge.” – The Guardian

A SCANDALOUS TALE OF LOVE AND BETRAYAL. Two French aristocrats, Marquise de Merteuil and her ex-lover, the Vicomte de Valmont, challenge each other to seduce unsuspecting innocents in this story of revenge, debauchery, and hidden motives. Set just before the French Revolution, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) is a glimpse into the lives of beautiful people poised to denigrate and control everyone around them, including each other. But when one of them actually falls in love, the real betrayals unfold.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses marks the reopening of Center Stage’s Calvert St. building, which remains under construction through December, 2016. Please note there will be no food or drink service, no lobby, and limited Box Office services.

Stay tuned for more exciting details about the renovation in our next Mount Vernon Cultural District Newsletter! 

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument Street | Phone 410-685-3750 | Website

Out of the Box

“Out of the Box:” The Costume Collection at the Maryland Historical Society
Thursday, November 3, 2016
6-8 PM, lecture at 6:30 PM

Monkey Dress
Givenchy’s ‘Monkey Dress,’ 1954, collection of the Maryland Historical Society

The costume collection at the Maryland Historical Society is one of the museum’s greatest treasure troves. It’s comprised of more than 12,000 garments dating from the early eighteenth century to the 1960s, including Givenchy’s “Monkey Dress,” created for Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor.

This gorgeous dress (pictured at right) will be highlighted during Alexandra Deutsch’s richly illustrated lecture, “Out of the Box: The Costume Collection at the Maryland Historical Society” on Thursday, November 3 at 6:30 pm. 

Curator Deutsch will detail the discoveries made this summer by our Costume Interns, who rehoused hundreds of dresses in our collection in order to preserve, and, in many cases, save them.

Attendees will be offered the opportunity to see selections from the collection, many of which have not been on view at MdHS for decades, such as an extremely rare lace mantilla which Jerome Bonaparte gave to Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte.

Click here for more information or to register.

The Maryland Humanities Council
108 West Centre Street | 410-685-0095 | Website

All American Boys

One Maryland One Book: “All American Boys” discussion
Friday, Nov 4 | 12:30-1:30 PM

Enoch Pratt Free Library-Orleans Street Branch 1303 Orleans St, Baltimore, MD, 21231

Join us as we discuss the 2016 One Maryland One Book, “All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Contact the Orleans Street Branch at 410-396-0970 for more information.


Baltimore Stories:
Morrell Park: A Community Conversation Event

Thursday, Nov 17 | 6-8 PM
Morrell Park Rec Center 2601 Tolley St, Baltimore, MD, 21230

Join us for the latest installment in Baltimore Stories, a short film of Morrell Park residents voicing their views about their neighborhood-past, present, and future. Share in the conversation afterward about the challenges and opportunities ahead for this community. Food and refreshments will be available.

Click here to register. For more information regarding the Baltimore Stories project, click here.

Peabody Institute
1 East Mount Vernon Place | Phone: 410-234-4500 | Website


Peabody String Sinfonia Presents Food Pantry Benefit Concert
Wednesday, Nov 9 | 7:30 PM
Leith Symington Griswold Hall

The concert will feature soloists Violaine Melançon, violin and Michael Kannen, cello, music by Peabody composers Ledah Finck and Kevin Puts and other gorgeous music for strings by Bach, Barber, Bartok, Bloch, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Pachelbel and Vivaldi.


Click here for more information.

Blair Tindall
Blair Tindall (right) with Jason Schwartzman at the Golden Globe Awards

Dean’s Symposium: Blair Tindall
Monday, Nov 28 | 2:30 PM
Cohen-Davison Family Theatre

Dean’s Symposium with Blair Tindall, New York Philharmonic oboist and author of Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music. This event will also be streamed live on the Johns Hopkins UStream channel.


Click here for more information.

Spotlighters Theatre
817 Saint Paul Street | Phone: 410-752-1225 | Website

Game's Afoot

(or Holmes for the Holidays)

Nov 17 – Dec 18, 2016

by Ken Ludwig
directed by Fuzz Roark
with Danny Romeo

Winner – 2012 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allen Poe Awards – Best Play!

Synopsis: It is December 1936 and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role in the play Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast-members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Then it’s up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears. The danger and hilarity are non-stop in this glittering whodunit set during the Christmas holidays. A WhoDunnit with twists and turns and murderous pandemonium!

“An inspired whodunit…a snappy, clever drawing-room mystery. There are twists… that cause the audience to gasp.” – The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Tickets: Adults $22; Seniors (60+) $20; Students & Military $18.
Ten Spot Thursday – ALL TICKETS JUST $10: Dec 8, 2016 at 8 PM (no other discounts apply). Purchase tickets by clicking here.

Post Show discussion with Cast, Director & Creative Team: Sunday, Dec 4, 2016 immediately following the performance.

Until next month,

Laura Rodini
Executive Director, The Mount Vernon Cultural District

The Mount Vernon Cultural District Is
A Proud Partner of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Visit Baltimore

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