Italian Holiday?

Ever dream of going to Italy? Can't afford it? Using the library is a great alternative!

First, you can experience the sights through art books in our collection. The works of greats such as Botticelli, Bernini, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio will transport you into the culture of Italy. However, if you wanted something a little closer to the real experience, you could try this book of paintings within the Uffizi. It's basically a tour in itself!

If you want to feel like you're actually walking the streets of Italy, try a book on the architecture of Brunelleschi, the famous creator of Florence's Il Duomo, or maybe something a little broader.

Perhaps you're anxious to taste some real Italian food? Unfortunately, you'll have to cook it yourself. But books on Italian Cooking will be able to make that a bit easier for you.

In order to hear Italy, you can try your hand at speaking it yourself. With our fantastic Italian language-learning collection, you'll be able to go from a beginner's lesson, to something more advanced. Although, if you tired yourself out with all that cooking, you might just like to listen to some opera.

If you're really into this whole plan, maybe you want to get some more background? There are tons of Italian history books. There are also biographies on key figures, such as Caesar, Lucrezia Borgia, Savonarola, Garibaldi, Mussolini, and the well-known Medici family.

Maybe all of these books are too much for you, and you really need a break? Well, luckily, AADL also carries movies. Something lighthearted, like Roman Holiday might help you through your journey. Or, if you'd like something a little more thrilling, perhaps The Talented Mr. Ripley? We even have films in Italian, like La Dolce Vita!

It may not be exactly the same as climbing the Spanish Steps, but it's as close as you can get without actually going! But, if you ever decide to go, don't forget your travel book.

The AADL Kid-i-cotts

Join us this Friday in the Downtown Multipurpose Room from 6-8:30 pm to celebrate the Caldecott medal winner. The Caldecott Medal has been awarded since 1938 to recognize excellence in illustration. This year the award has gone to Jerry Pinkney's excellent rendition of The Lion and the Mouse, which tells Aesop's classic fable entirely in pictures.

This Friday, after a brief presentation of the Caldecott winner and other historical Caldecotts, you will have the chance to tell stories in pictures yourself. Your imagination is the only limit, so bring all your creativity, enthusiasm and love of art!

By Jove! What a collection!

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On this day in 1759, the British Museum opened to the public in the Bloomsbury district of London. The original collection was donated by a doctor, Sir Hans Sloane who had amassed what he called "a cabinet of curiosities." The collection included thousands of books, manuscripts, items from the nature and art objects from around the world. The round, domed Reading Room was built over a hundred years later and could hold one million volumes. Until recently, only those who presented an almost exhaustive life history as well as references could use the collection. Some lucky users included Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Gandhi and George Orwell. Lenin was initially denied access because of difficulty locating a reference. The museum has created digital records of items in their collection which can be accessed on their website. The Library also owns many books that contain objects that belong to their collections.

The Rape of Europa

Amidst the destruction of World War II was the further devastating loss of much of Europe’s great art and architecture. The fascinating 2007 film, The Rape of Europa, tells this story based on the book of the same title by author Lynn Nicholas. Nicholas spent ten years in Belgium researching what would become a best-selling book in 1994, and the film examines the newest issues and later research since its publication.

The German Nazi party is now believed to have stolen one-fifth of Europe’s treasures during WWII. Although much was recovered by the Allies, a large amount remains missing, damaged beyond repair, or in need of restoration work that is still continuing today. Pillage and looting during war was certainly not something new before WWII, but it seems to be the systematic methods involved during WWII that made the crimes so horrific. It was a highly organized operation that not only allowed Hitler's Germany to amass a wealth of art by theft, but also involved the complete destruction of historic landmarks - such as the Royal Castle of Warsaw - to further dehumanize other cultures. The Rape of Europa is a worthwhile documentary about a subject I knew little of beforehand and was glad I took the time to watch. I highly recommend.

Secrets of the Library: Museum Adventure Pass

museummuseumExpecting out of town visitors for the holidays? Show them the rich cultural offerings of southeast Michigan (and get out of the cold) with a Museum Adventure Pass, which offers free admission for 2 or 4 people to participating museums. Walk off that extra helping of mashed potatoes in the grand halls of the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History, the Arab American National Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), and many more! Passes are available at all branches.

A visit to UMMA

One of the great things about library staff day was getting to visit the University of Michigan Museum of Art -- and being given a wonderful tour by Prue Rosenthal. There are many reasons to return, including that striking metal sculpture made from gun parts; the Tiffany glass piece; and in the gift shop, beautiful wood art reclaimed from trees felled to build the museum's new Frankel Wing. Similarly, AADL reclaimed wood from the site in building Traverwood.

Happy Anniversary, MOMA!

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On this day in 1929, nine days after the stock market crashed, the The Museum of Modern Art in New York City opened its doors. The Museum contains an extensive permanent collection, including French impressionist paintings, modern photography and sculpture. Current exhibits include "New Photography" and Monet's Water Lilies series. So if you're planning a trip to New York this coming holiday season, put MOMA on your list of hot spots.

The Lens of Impressionism @ the UMMA

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The Lens of Impressionism: Photography and Painting Along the Normandy Coast, 1850–1874 opens at the UMMA October 10, 2009.

This exhibition (as well as the accompanying catalog) is a captivating exploration of the impetus of early Impressionism along the coast of Normandy. The invention of the camera and the development of early fine art photography will be seen as the specific catalysts that brought about a new approach to painting.

Paintings, photographs, and drawings by some of the most treasured artists in the Western canon—Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, and Claude Monet among them—as well as pioneering photographers such as Gustave Le Gray and Henri Le Secq will be showcased.

"Inspired by the scenic Normandy coast of France, these works—including representations of beach scenes, seascapes, fishing villages, resorts, and the region’s pastoral beauty—will be brought together with archival materials related to early tourism and regional expressions of French nationalism from popular culture for an innovative examination of the impact of the then-new medium of photography on ideas of image making, the recording of passing time, the capacities of painting, and the rise of Impressionism itself. "

Organized by UMMA, the exhibition will travel to the Dallas Museum of Art after closing in Ann Arbor on January 3, 2010. Check program schedule for docent-led tours.

The Obamas' White House Collection

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As reported by the BBC, President and Mrs.Obama have decorated their private rooms and the Oval Office with a range of modern and abstract art, adding to the extensive permanent White House art collection.

Among them are new pieces by contemporary African-American and Native American artists, as well as established artists such as Josef Albers, Richard Diebenkorn, Jasper Johns, Mark Rothko, and Edward Ruscha. Lesser-known artists such as Alma Thomas (photo), an African-American abstract painter of the 1960s and 1970s and Glenn Ligon are also chosen. (The complete list). A significant number of the library's collection of books on these artists are gifts from the Ladies Library Association.

One New York art dealer described the Obamas' choices as "highly sophisticated". The curator of modern and contemporary art at the National Gallery, where many of the items are on loan from, said it was "great art to live with".

Secrets of the Library: Art Prints

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Every so often, we'll feature some "Secrets of the Library," resources available here at AADL that you may not know about. Today's secret: Art Prints! Did you know that we have hundreds of framed Art Prints from a wide variety of artists for you to borrow to redecorate your home or office? You can take Art Prints home for eight weeks. The best way to see what we have is to check out our inventory on the second or third floors of the Downtown branch, but you can also browse the catalog 'By Format' if you know the title of a specific work. Even some of the pieces on our walls are available for checkout!

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