Saturday, March 2, 2013

Friday Field Trip!

A Lovely Day of Art

We have been having beautiful weather lately and I felt we needed another field trip, so we decided to go see the Rodin exhibit at the Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University!  I had never been there (never even knew it was there) but a friend told me how wonderful it was, and then another friend told me about the Rodin exhibit and how wonderful it was- so we went! And guess what?  It was wonderful.  First of all, the museum is FREE!  Even parking was cheap and close to the museum. 
Secondly, they make it relatively child-friendly by loaning out art kits with a sketch pad and color pencils so the kids can sketch out certain works of art they admire.  Well my daughter thought that was the best thing ever!!  My son, who isn't as artistically minded, wasn't as impressed.  We went from room to room finding works of art that struck her and she would spend 10 minutes drawing it while my son and I wandered or talked about other paintings.  I wish I could have let her spend all day doing that - next time we'll go without her brother.  But the main reason we went to the museum was to see the Rodin exhibit, so let me talk about that.

I didn't know squat about Rodin and, frankly, didn't learn much at the museum since the kids flitted back and forth so quickly, but I looked it up when I got home and here's a quick biography. 

Auguste Rodin was born in France in 1840 and lived until 1917.  He was not a conventional sculptor and his work was often not well received.  Eventually, he was accepted as a man who changed the idea of sculpture from showcasing the model as perfect or a heroic figure, to showing the model as they truly were and often leaving them slightly "unfinished". 
He completed his works in clay and plaster molds were made of his sculpture.  These molds would then be forged in bronze.  Rodin's highly trained assistants did most of the work- the artist mainly dealt with the original clay sculpture.  Often his assistants would even re-size his works to make larger monuments.  One of his most famous works is The Thinker, which is one of the most famous sculptures of all time.  But the sculpture was actually a piece of a larger piece of work - The Gates of Hell. 
This enormous piece of work was so amazing to see in person.  Pictures could never show all the details and really how immense it is.  The kids liked the sculpture garden, I love the unstuffiness of art presented outdoors.  Indoors, I felt like I had to keep shushing them but outside they were free to run from piece to piece.  We had a lovely day and saw some amazing works of art.  I can't wait to see what our next adventure will be.....
The Thinker as seen on The Gates of Hell and the larger stand alone version