Monday, September 27, 2010

Indulging the Art Bug

This weekend I indulged the art bug running rampant inside me and it was a real treat.  We went to the Norton Simon Museum [you'll often see it if you watch the Rose Bowl Parade on New Years Day] and it is a place you might want to add to your must visit list.  Pasadena has changed a great deal since I was last there and yet there are sections that haven't changed since they were first built.

As for the museum itself, you're welcomed by a selection of large pieces - quite a few by Auguste Rodin so you can make your own conclusion about the overly large hand and feet rumors.  There is also a sculpture park out back with a little cafe resting on the edge.  It is a stunning space of serenity and the sculptures dotted around suit the lush green space.  We actually ate some lunch out here and then went inside, 107 was too hot to explore in depth, but I'll go back with the cutie when he comes out.

The pace of the museum is calm and the walls aren't so crowded you can't see and enjoy the variety of periods showcased.

My favorite section has always been the impressionists and I enjoyed spending time with the Edgar Degas The Little Fourteen Year Old Dancer sculpture - the bow was what used to pull me over to it and each time I look at her there's something else that holds my attention.  This time it was her posture.  She's a very secure and confident fourteen year old and I'm curious about how she took that into adulthood.

On six or seven other pedestals are a selection of sculptures from Degas where he worked out a variety of body positions found in both paintings and larger pieces.  There was one of a dancer with a seriously full skirt [sorry, forgot to take a picture] and I loved to see how he piled on the clay while keeping it feminine to bulk out the frilly underskirt.

There was a beautiful Vincent Van Gogh called The Mullberry Tree and the audio tour offered some very interesting information on it and many others through the museum.

It won't surprise many of you, but two other pieces caught my eye for different reasons, and yet the same.  First was a painting by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo called Satyress with a Putto and the other was a sculpture called A Bacchante Supported by Bacchus and a Faun sculpture by Claude Michel, aka Clodin. The Tiepolo because I hadn't ever seen a "satyress" and, yes, story ideas were exploding in my mind like the 4th of July. 

From taking in this piece I walked into the next room and lit upon the Clodin.  Delicate, yummy in detail, and so close to the next installment in the Mythological Messes Redux series.  Remember?  Cyra's Cyclopes left Filla, the nymph, hanging from a tree with the satyr loving her most wickedly at the bacchanalia?

Oh yes!  It was a lovely day and while I could keep going on about individual pieces and rooms, I won't, it would take too long.  However, what I did and recommend others do as well, is buy the Handbook!  I like revisiting pieces in person, but if I can't, leafing through a museum's collection via a book will often feed the need.


practimom said...

ohhh, beautiful pictures! what gorgeous artwork!

Tilly Greene said...

It was a beautiful setting holding a wide range of art. You should make a trip out there when you visit in March - a nice day out kind of place :-)