Thursday, December 27, 2012

San Antonio Museum of Art -- Wed., Dec. 26

As I was checking out the calendar for the San Antonio Museum of Art a few days ago, I noticed on December 26, "Free Day." Could it be? Free all day? Yes, that's exactly what it meant.

Bob went to work and I went to the museum. The art started in the parking lot with a quote made from old signs.

The museum of art used to be the Lone Star Brewing Company, founded in1884, because of its proximity to the San Antonio River. In the early 1900s, the brewery was one of the largest in the state, but it didn't survive Prohibition. The buildings did not fare well over the years.

A group of community leaders and museum officials liked the old buildings' distinctive architecture and dramatic internal spaces. By 1981, the old brewery reopened as the San Antonio Museum of Art.

San Antonio Museum of Art--left side
San Antonio Museum of Art--right side
The special exhibit through February 17 is:

Upon entering the museum I was asked to provide my zip code and was handed a large map. On my way to the Aphrodite exhibit, I passed under a beautiful installation of Chihuly glass.

Chihuly glass ceiling.
Because the Aphrodite collection is not part of the museum's regular collections, I could not take photos. Here is a description of the collection from the San Antonio Museum of Art website:
Known today as the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, or Venus to the Romans, was one of the most powerful Greek divinities and a favorite subject in ancient art. This groundbreaking exhibition reveals this most popular ancient goddess in her roles as instigator of sexual desire, patroness of brides, seafarers and warriors, agent of political harmony, adulterous seductress, and mother to mischievous Eros. The exhibition features 125 statues, vases, terracotta and bronze figures, mirrors and jewelry from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston's world-renowned Greek and Roman collection together with seven breathtaking works from the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples.
This is quite an extensive collection with gold earrings, perfume and oil jars, statues, marble busts, drinking cups depicting prenuptial bathing scenes, and mirrors.

The myth of the Judgment of Paris is told in an explanatory panel. Three goddesses: Hera (Juno), Athena (Minerva) and Aphrodite (Venus) all claimed to be the most beautiful. To settle the dispute all three were led by Hermes to the mortal shepherd prince Paris--considered to be a fair judge--who would decide which of the three would win the golden apple inscribed "to the fairest." All three goddesses bribed Paris. Hera told Paris she would make him the king of all men. Athena promised victory in war. Aphrodite promised Helen, wife of Menelaus. Paris chose the bribe of Helen from Aphrodite and she won the competition. Helen was taken from Menelaus of Lacedaemon to Troy where Paris married her. This starts the Trojan war.

I didn't think when I went to the art museum today I would learn Greek and Roman mythology. You just never know what you will find.

Other collections in the museum include Ancient Art, Latin American Art, Pre-Columbian Art, Asian Art, The Art of Oceania, Ancient Near Eastern Art, Islamic Art, American Art, European Art and Irish Silver Art.

Roman statues.
Statue of Athena.

The next set of photos are Islamic Art...The second photo is an interior door from Iran (circa 1800) done in the Qajar style.

Beautiful tiles adorn the outside of buildings in Iran.
Interior door--see detail below.
Detail from door above--done in Qajar style.
 The Art of Oceania.

Koa wood bowls from Hawaii.
Irish Silver Art.
Freedom boxes--they're quite small.

The Art of Asia.
Early Chinese Art

Exterior of bowl on bottom--interior of bowl reflected in mirror above it.
Ceramic Chinese lion.
Korean Art

Tigers and Magpies screen.

Close-up of Tigers and Magpies screen.
Indian Art.

Brahma sculpture in sandstone.

American Art.

"Passion Flowers with Three Hummingbirds" by Martin Johnson Heade.
"Passing Storm Over the Sierra Nevadas" by Albert Bierstadt.
Mission San Juan by Theodore Gentilz
Mission Espada by Theodore Gentilz
"Mission San Jose," by Theodore Gentilz
"Mission La Purisima Concepcion," by Theodore Gentilz
Having recently visited the missions above, I was particularly interested in the four mission paintings. These were painted at a time when the missions were in use, before they had to be restored. I enjoyed seeing what they looked like originally.

"Near San Antonio," Robert Julian Onderdonk
That concludes this short tour of the San Antonio Museum of Art.

I met Bob at the 5er for left-over spaghetti before we headed out the Spurs-Raptors NBA game at the AT&T Center. The game tonight was not nearly as exciting as the game on Sunday night. The cheerleaders only came out once and there wasn't the same energy in the building--the players or the crowd. In the end, the Spurs won by about 20.

We headed back to the 5er and settled in for the cold night. In fact, it has been very cold the last few nights and I've been doing quite a bit of cooking, so we used up two tanks of propane. Luckily we had a spare to get us through night (28 degrees!). 

That covers Wednesday. Good night.

1 comment:

  1. You really hit the jackpot getting to see all that beautiful art for free. We LOVE free!!


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