HUNTINGTON -- The Tuesday tours at the Huntington Museum of Art take a mystical turn this week as local professors lead a walk through the exhibit by the late Lebanese native Christian writer, Kahil Gibran.
The November Tuesday Tour at HMA takes place at 7 p.m. Nov. 26 with a gallery walk through the exhibit titled "Visions of the Prophet: The Visual Art of Kahlil Gibran."
Admission to this event is free. Refreshments will be served.
The gallery walk will be led by Marshall University professors Clay McNearney and Jeff Ruff, both of the Department of Religious Studies. McNearney's remarks will focus on placing Gibran within the realm of the religious world of the time, and Ruff will focus on Gibran's specific mysticism.
Providing a rare and emotional look into the heart of Gibran -- whose 1923-penned work "The Prophet," became one of the best-selling books of the 20th Century -- is the exhibit, "Visions of The Prophet: The Visual Art of Kahlil Gibran," which runs through Feb. 9.
Never seen before outside of the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Ga., this exhibit on loan -- 96 drawings, watercolors, and paintings -- was culled from the largest collection of Gibran's work outside of Lebanon. All the pieces came from Gibran's long-time friend and patron, the late Savannah resident Mary Haskell who donated her collection to the Telfair Museums in 1950.
Not your typical touring show, this exhibit is a very personal collection (with accompanying love letters between Gibran and Haskell in the reading area), and was obtained temporarily as part of the Southeastern Museums Conference swap that had the Huntington Museum of Art sending 70 out of 400 pieces in the Touma Collection for an exhibit, "Allure of the Near East." That exhibit is up in Savannah through mid January.
The exhibit, which also includes self-portraits by Gibran, an early oil portrait of Gibran by Lilla Cabot Perry and photographs of Gibran and his New York studio, provides a survey of his career as a visual artist who illustrated each of his books.
On display are many drawings and watercolors from works from his first exhibition at photographer Fred Holland Day's studio in Boston in 1904, to works created during the last years of his life, including six works used as illustrations in his last book, "The Garden of the Prophet."
Drawing from influences from the Renaissance, the Pre-Raphaelites, the French Symbolists, and others such as visionary William Blake, Gibran's work features illustrations for six of his English-written books in which his paintings strive to, as Layne describes, "visually articulate abstract concepts and those universal truths of life and death."
"Through oil, watercolor, pencil, pen, pastel, gouache, or some variation thereof, Gibran sought to evoke the essence of life," wrote Tania Sammons, curator at the Telfair Museums and organizer of this exhibit who has written extensively about Mary Haskell and Kahlil Gibran. "He wanted to elevate humanity through his work and share his ideas about the connectedness of all things. He wanted to inspire and stretch the imaginations of his audiences, if they so choose to be open to his message of oneness. In his visual work and his writing, Gibran provided a first step into a spiritual understanding of life."
As the power of Gibran's words are intrinsically tied to the exhibit, the visual works are accompanied by a catalogue with essays by Tania Sammons and Dr. Suheil Bushrui, the University of Maryland's George and Lisa Zakhem Kahlil Gibran Chair for Values and Peace.
In between the exhibits, there are a couple reading areas with comfortable, cushioned seating areas on vast woven rugs and surrounded by Middle Eastern items from incense burners and ancient ceramics to an Oud.
The Museum has gathered a number of his books, as well as the collections of love letters and biographies as well that are spread out on tables to invite folks to sit for a spell, learn and be at the museum.
For more information on events at HMA, visit www.hmoa.org or call 304-529-2701. HMA is fully accessible.