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Wednesday April 23, 2014
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DIA Inside|Out Art Walk



Frederic Edwin Church's Syria By The Sea sits on the western wall of the Ann Arbor Fire Department. The artist placed crumbling ruins against a seascape and glowing sun, the DIA notes, to "remind us that while human civilizations rise and fall, nature remains constant," according to the DIA description. The reddish-brown brick wall looks like part of the painting, and its sheer size is impressive, especially when Church's vision of inevitable downfall is juxtaposed with the fire department.

After walking around like a tourist in a city I've lived in for most of my life, I find my favorite. Created in 1625, Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes is absolutely stunning. Judith peers out of a tent flap after beheading Holofernes, an Assyrian general who was about to destroy her home city of Bethulia. Judith apparently used her beauty to gain access to his tent--and then used a sword to decapitate him.

The painting, created by a female artist, unusual for that era, depicts Judith's maidservant wrapping up Holofernes's head and waiting for her mistress to lead them the heck out of that tent.

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