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Published November 10th 2021
An impressive and enjoyable museum of art and culture
Any visit to Providence, Rhode Island must include a visit to RISD Museum. Located just off the Providence River in the center of the city, the museum resides in the Rhode Island School of Design. The collection is quite impressive for a small museum. Over twenty-two hundred objects range from ancient Roman mosaics to modern textiles.
A Babylonian lion relief welcomes you to the ancient Greek and Roman galleries. Marble busts, sections of frescoes, Greek vases and ancient coins fill the displays.
The Asian gallery presents religious and funeral objects. Most of the sculptures are Hindu and Buddhist including the floor to ceiling wooden sculpture of Buddha Mahavairocana. The displays explain the various materials used in creating objects, from porcelain and enamel to jade and stone.
Moving to the European galleries, you are treated to several Impressionist masters. Works by Renoir, Monet, Manet and Van Gogh adorn the walls. Medieval tapestries, paintings and religious artifacts fill a room entered through a large stone arch.
A highlight of RISD is the extraordinarily varied collection of furniture, dishware and textiles. One room displays a shiny collection of metal teapots, silverware, and other dishware from the 1800s until today.
The large Granoff Gallery features paintings, clothing and oddly shaped chairs from the turn of the twentieth century. One dress is made of a textile developed in Egypt in which metal strips are wrapped around netting in geometric shapes.
In the Angela Donghia Costume and Textiles Study Center, cabinets with large drawers hold textiles and clothing from around the world. It is fun pulling out each drawer to reveal intriguing designs and colors.
The Charles Pendleton House joins RISD and houses a collection of American furniture and decorations set up to reflect an actual home. The rooms on the first floor closely resemble Pendleton's home and the second floor has thematic period rooms.