Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Friends' Qualifying Tours - Day 17

Walks: R/T Car to de Young Museum, two tours of the American Collection, R/T Mindful Body, Teach yoga class.
Distance: @24 blocks and yoga class

For one semester I was part of the Docent Training Program at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. I decided it wasn't for me, but have kept friendships with several of the women in my training group. Two of these friends gave their 'qualifying tours' for the end of the second semester today and invited me to be part of their group.

The second semester focused on American Art, and both tours began at the paintings of Niagra Falls by Gustav Grunewald. There are two canvasses both painted in 1832 one entitled 'The Niagara River at the Cataract,' the other 'Horseshoe Falls from below the High Bank.'

Besides the power of Niagra, what captures my attention is always the comparative insignificance/powerlessness of man Grunewald portrays. Can you see the people?
On the left, they are little specks at the bottom left.

Now maybe you can see them better. And on the right painting, the people are at the top right:

Here they are a little closer:

Grunewald painted in the time of Emerson, Thoreau, Transcendentalism, so these paintings are not just landscapes but comments on man's place in the universe from a transcendental point of view. I will probably explore this in more depth in a later blog. Right now it is time for a totally updated comment on the American people in President's State of the Union Speech.

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