Ingredients of a Woman » ARTS

Where will you rest when you die? -Sarcophagi at the Metropolitan Museum of Art


Where will you rest when you die?

Have you ever thought what your coffin will look like when you pass away?

I spent a whole afternoon starring at the gorgeous sculptures at the MET. Fascinated by the intricacies and drama of each piece, I lost myself in the surroundings of our ancient civilizations.

The collection of Greek and Roman art at the Met holds more than seventeen thousand pieces, ranging from the Neolithic period to the time of the roman emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in A.D. 312.

It is one of the most comprehensive collections in North America.
I want to share with you a little bit of the ancient Roman’s funerary art, Sarcophagi, impressive monuments carved with Greek mythology.

Marble Sarcophagus
Roman, about A.D. 220 – 230

Dionysos on a Panther with his attendants the four seasons as winged youths.
Tellus (The Earth) and Oceanus (A River), reclining. Probably found in Rome.

Here is a close-up:

Marble sarcophagus with garlands
Roman, Severan period, ca. A.D. 200-225

This one is adorned at the front and sides by garlands of oak leaves, supported by two erotes and four Victories.
Do you see the Medusa heads filling the spaces above the garlands?
At the center of the front there is a blank inscription tablet.
Along the front lid, six erotes hunt wild animals. You can see the details if you click on the picture, which will take you to my flickr account, where the original size is.

Marble strigilated sarcophagus
Roman, Late Severan, ca. A.D. 220

The marble on this piece is Proconnesian, imported from northwestern Asia Minor.
The lions heads are very impressive, they look hungry, gggrrrrrr, and furious.
I read on the museum notes that this kind of design is very distinctive, and it’s restricted largely to sarcophagi produced in the city of Rome. I love the effect of the front panels.
This piece was missing its lid.

Marble sarcophagus lid with reclining couple
Roman, Severan period, ca. A.D. 220

The couple represents water and earth. The woman is holding a garland and two sheaves of wheat, characteristics of Tellus, goddess of the earth. The man is holding a long reed, and there is some sort of lizard creature next to his left arm.
The wife’s head is unfinished. Apparently this means that her husband died before her, and no one added her portrait after she passed out of existence. Poor woman!
On the other hand, the details on the man’s head are amazing.

Marble sarcophagus with flying erotes holding a clipeus portrait
Roman, Severan period, ca. A.D. 190-200

The portrait center-high up, is of a soldier. He is wearing a military cloak. Tellus and Oceanus, the Earth and Ocean, are reclined below him.
There are figures of Eros and Psyche, personifications of the human soul, at each end of the sarcophagus.

Marble sarcophagus with the myth of Endymion
Roman, Antonine period, mid-2nd century A.D.

Selene, the moon goddess, who crazily loved Endymion, gave him eternal youth with eternal sleep.
Would you want to be asleep if someone grant you eternal youth? I know, I wouldn’t.

The myth says that Selene visited Endymion every night, where he slept. Althought there are many stories to this myth. I read some time ago that Selene and Endymion had fifty daughters called Menae. Fifty! And the guy was asleep, huh?

The relief on this piece is shallow in comparison with the other sarcophagus dated early third century, their carving is deeper.

Marble sarcophagus with the myth of Selene and Endymion
Roman, Severan period, early 3rd century A.D.

The lovers myth of Selene and Endymion became a popular funerary theme in Roman art.
If you notice on the lid, there is an inscription at the center, dedicated to a woman named Arria, by her daughter Anina Hilaria. The portrait of the deceased is carved to the right of the inscription. She looks very sad! I already asked my husband to have my portrait with a smile. I don’t want visitors looking at my sarcophagus getting all melancholic because of my weepy face.
Notice the carving on this piece, very deep, so beautiful.
There is Selene on the center, visiting her loverrr, Endymion. He is reclining at the right. Very dramatic pose, he holds!
The female figure over him is pouring out the magic potion of immortality.

Marble sarcophagus with garlands and the myth of Theseus and Ariadne
Roman, Hadrianic or Early Antonine period, ca. A.D. 130-150

The four seasons of the year are carved on the lid of this piece. Erotes driving taxis,
ok, maybe chariots, pulled by animals. Bears with spring, lions with summer, bulls with fall, and boars with winter.
On the front there are four erotes carrying seasonal garlands.
The garlands are formed by flowers, grapes, pomegranates, laurel and wheat.
If you blow out the picture, you’ll notice the three episodes between the bundles are from the myth of the Greek hero Theseus.

From left to right: “Adriadne giving a thread to Theseus at the entrance to the labyrinth, Theseus slaying the Minotaur, and the sleeping Ariadne abandoned on the island of Naxos, where she will be awakened by the god Dionysos to become his immortal bride.”

Limestone Jewish ossuary with lid
Roman, Jewish, 1st-3rd century A.D.

Ossuaries were used for the burial of bones after the departed’s body had disintegrated.
You could notice the chest was decorated with non-figural design.

Photography copyright of Alba H. Rodriguez

Filed under: ARTS, Museums

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I recently spent a few days in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I was camping at the Great Hall when one of the security guards asked me to leave, they had to kick me out of it. Ok, it didn’t happened that way. But it actually took me 3 days to see the entire museum.

It’s so inspiring to be surrounded by an immense collection of art.
I finally got the motivation I needed to pick up my brushes, dust my easel and start painting again.

There’s something for everyone at The Met, with a collection of more than two million works of art.
Thousands years of world culture, from prehistory to present days and from every part of the globe. You could immerse yourself in whatever interest you.

The Met is located in New York City’s Central Park along Fifth Avenue (from 80th to 84th Streets).
It’s very easy to find it. I walked from 59th street, the first day, to get there, just to warm up my calves and take some pictures of Central Park.

The visitors desk offers maps, tours, brochures, and assistance in many languages, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.

There are also restaurants, a bookshop, gift shops and even bars.
I tried the cafeteria’s food, it was very good and affordable.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit New York City, stop by The Metropolitan Museum.
Just make sure to check the museum hours before showing up.

Also, wear comfy shoes.

Get ready for hours of history.

And even good food.

Alba H. Rodriguez

Filed under: ARTS, Museums, Travel

Spring Blossoms – Sharing some flowers and a poem by Emily Dickinson

“A Light exists in Spring

Not present on the Year

At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad

On Solitary Fields

That Science cannot overtake

But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,

It shows the furthest Tree

Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step

Or Noons report away

Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss

Affecting our Content

As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.”


Alba H. Rodriguez

Nikon Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-56G IF-ED AF-S DX VR Zoom Lens

Nikon Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-56G IF-ED AF-S DX VR Zoom Lens

Capture detail-rich digital photos using this zoom lens that features ED glass elements for lifelike images and a Silent Wave Motor for ultrafast autofocusing. Lens-based vibration reduction reduces distortion from camera shake for improved image clarity.

Filed under: ARTS, Home and Garden, Photography

Visitors at the White Rock Lake -American White Pelicans

So, we got some visitors at the White Rock Lake. American White Pelicans stop by every year and make Dallas lake their home. For a couple of months we get to enjoy these splendid creatures.
White Pelicans_80
White Pelicans_47

I tried to be patient to capture their beauty with my camera. It was hard, I got distracted so many times by their stunning feathers. They remind me of those immaculate wedding dresses.
White Pelicans_72

I wonder how they keep their feathers so clean.
White Pelicans_34

Here is one of a landing.
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I like his short legs in this pic.
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White Pelicans_33
White Pelicans_1

These two look funny next to each other.
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They gather in groups of five or so.
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Clearly, they enjoy each other’s company.
White Pelicans_2
White Pelicans_3
White Pelicans_4
I love to see their wings spread out.
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They catch their prey while swimming, that’s what I have observed so far. Unfortunately I could not get a good shot of it, maybe next time.
White Pelicans_6
White Pelicans_7


Filed under: ARTS, Photography

Our mother Earth was having a moment

I was so excited, already celebrating spring.

When the weather started acting up. It was cold, windy, very cold.
Did I mention it was cold?

Then, there was snow. I love snow! Its pure white color, makes everything prettier.

It was not so pretty this time.
You see, my husband and I spent the previous weekend planting flowers, bushes and the last trees left. Our hands are still sore.

Like any gardner enthusiast, we were proud of our accomplishment.

It was about time to sit and enjoy the fruit of our hard labor.

Well, not yet. Yesterday morning, we got up early, to find out, snow coated the streets, the trees and our garden.

There was not playing on the snow this time, not shutting snow balls at each other…there was only disappointment.

Our beautiful plants were covered with snow.

We made some assumptions: “they are going to get burn”, I said.
“They are already dead! Forget it, we need to plant everything again”, my husband responded.

Five minutes later, we realized that it was another snow day in Dallas. How often do we get snow in Dallas? Almost never.

We decided to celebrate. After all, it was a snow day and we were together, our first spring day as a husband and wife.

Sipping hot Mexican chocolate, talking about our past and future, calling our family to share a beautiful snow day. That’s how we celebrated it.

Our mother earth was giving us another present, we better enjoy it until it last, so we did.

And it was perfect!

Alba H. Rodriguez

Filed under: Photography

Snow day, snow day!

I got out of bed, early this morning, to find out, there was snow every where. Yes! It’s snowing in Dallas!
Yupiiiiiiiiii (Yupiiiiii is the short Spanish version for jumping of joy, in case you were wondering).

So, I took my camera out for a walk around the house. It was a walk inside the house.
Started shutting pictures through my windows, dirty windows. BTW, I need to add it to the list of things to do this 2010. Must clean the windows.

Snowing in Dallas_through window

Snowing in Dallas_through window 2

It looks like a B&W picture.
Snowing in Dallas_B&W look alike

That’s my neighbors tree. So tall and beautiful.
Snowing in Dallas_B&W look alike 2

Snow, snow, beautiful snow.
Snowing in Dallas_through window 3

This one is mine, also tall and strong.
Snowing in Dallas_through window 4

What a romantic day, I’m going to make hot chocolate. Maybe, some baking too.
Snowing in Dallas_through window 5

There’s a guy outside.
Snowing in Dallas_A guy through my window 1

He knocked at my window, I think he’s inviting me to come outside. Mmmhhh, that sounds like fun.
Snowing in Dallas_A guy through my window

Ooohhh, wait, what is he trying to do?
Snowing in Dallas what is he doing

Oh, no you are not!!!
Snowing in Dallas_A guy through my window 2

Snowing in Dallas_A guy shooting at my window 11


Shooting snowballs at me?!!!!!
Snowing in Dallas_A guy shooting at my window 22

Oh, you think this is funny? Just wait!
Snowing in Dallas_A guy shooting at my window

Now, I’m going to get you!!!
Snowing in Dallas_Running away

You better run Mr.!
Snowing in Dallas_Running away 2

Save yourself!
Snowing in Dallas_Running away 3

Yeah, like that little tree is going to protect you.
Snowing in Dallas_Behind a tree

To do List

Alba H. Rodriguez

Filed under: ARTS, Photography

Mr. Runway

This chubby, bubbly fellow looks healthy, mmmhh, turkey for dinner anyone?

Look at this corpulent guy! He’s ready to head into the oven.


The pictures were taken in a small village in Veracruz, Mexico.
While waiting for our sugarcane juice to be made. Mr. Turkey came walking and passed right in front of us, modeling his feathers, like if he was part of an exclusive Christian Dior’s runway.

I could think of many recipes including Mr. Runway: Turkey sandwich, turkey with portobello mushrooms, turkey casserole, roast turkey, turkey meatballs.

Oh, oohh, is he reading my mind?

He got my vibe and walked away.


Filed under: Photography, Travel

Flying Man

I love Veracruz _Flyer Man

Maybe sad, or worried…
I love Veracruz _Flyer Man 2

Could it be, scared?
I love Veracruz _Flyer Man 3

He was about to perform a dance, you would think that dancing is always fun… well, he was about to dance on top of a pole, up to 150 feet high.
I love Veracruz _Flyer Man 4

The Dance of Papantla’s flyers.

He is a flying man, trying to make a living.
I love Veracruz _Flyer Men


Filed under: ARTS, Dancing, Photography

Neighbors – The Squirrel

Hairy, puffy and always on red bull, she comes and goes, jumping from one tree to the next.
Neighbor_The Squirrel

These photos were taken from my window, she new I was watching her eating, she paused, ate some more…
Neighbor_The Squirrel eating

She tries to hide…
Neighbor_The Squirrel hiding

Then she goes, shaking her large bushy tail.
Neighbor_The Squirrel running away

Look at her, posing,
Neighbor_The Squirrel posing

but only for a second or two…she has to run again,
Neighbor_The Squirrel running away 2

Ok, just one more photo.
Neighbor_The Squirrel looking for me

To the next tree, she goes…
Neighbor_The Squirrel to the next tree


Filed under: Photography

Neighbors –The Cat

We took a walk through our neighborhood and look who I found, right in front of what I think is his house..
Neighbor_The Cat_yes I have blue eyes
He’s always coming to visit me in the mornings, spying through my windows with his elegant walk, like he’s walking on the entrance of a red carpet event.

He was enjoying the day, “Mmmhhh, nice weather..meowNeighbor_The Cat

What? Is that you? I think, that’s you, yes, you lady, the new neighbor..”
Neighbor_The Cat_is that YOU

“What are you doing?”Neighbor_The Cat_what are you doing here

“Grrrrrr…. Are you spying on me?!” “You are, aren’t you?!”
Neighbor_The Cat_GRRRR

“Yes, my eyes are BLUE, get over it.”Neighbor_The Cat_yes I have blue eyes

Arrogant cat. I know he likes me, how do you explain he looks through my windows every morning?

Filed under: ARTS, Photography