Planned, Then and Now

Perhaps it was too ambitious at the beginning, a design in the second half of Gilded Age when everything should be grand and opulent.

The original design of the Brooklyn Museum by McKim, Mead and White would outshine Louvre and Met in its scale, but once the city of Brooklyn merged with Manhattan, the other side of the East River would lose its competitiveness and the final result is partially sweet for its grand facade, but partially sad because it is in my opinion a forever symbol of an unfulfilled dream.

The new entrance, sleek, modern and inviting in its own way, does not add too much exhibition space. I always hope that at least the west side of the building can be built to match the single finger-shape of the building on the east side, thus the museum can have two Beaux-Art courts.

In the era of shining clad, my wish may be too absurd to the public taste. (The only recently built public building with classical design that I have seen is the symphony hall in Nashville, TN. ) For me, it is not about the Roman classics or nobility, it is the historical integrity, a chance to make the dream true.

About Hui

Wang Hui lived from 1632 - 1717 and followed in the footprints of his great grandfathers, grandfather, father and uncles and learned painting at a very early age. He was later taught by two contemporary masters, Zhang Ke and Wang Shimin, who taught him to work in the tradition of copying famous Chinese paintings. This is most likely the reason why critics claim that his work is conservative and reflects the Yuan and Song traditions. One critic claimed that "his landscape paintings reflect his nostalgic attachment to classical Chinese aesthetics. Along with the other Wangs, Wang Hui helped to perpetuate the tradition of copying the ancient masters rather than creating original work.

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