Friday, June 30, 2023

Dinos! --- Days 12/184 & 5

Walk: 1. Presidio 2. California Academy of Sciences

Distances:  7 miles, 7 miles

World's Largest Dinosaurs Exhibit at San Francisco Academy of Sciences*

Dinosaur fascination is for all ages, and our Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is having a special exhibit of The World's Largest Dinosaurs. It was organized by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York whose learned curators say the exhibit   "...represents a new era of dinosaur research that leverages recent advances in technology and the expertise of multiple scientific disciplines to understand how the largest animals to ever roam the earth actually lived,”   

So, today Ciwt just had to finally became a member and join all sorts of screaming children and their parents gaping at the enormous creatures.  

* That 60' long dinosaur with the small head and incredibly(30 foot) long neck is a fleshed out model of an 18-year-old Mamenchisaurus.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Art and Dynasty: Elizabeth I --- Day 12/183

Walk: Legion of Honor (The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England)
Distance: 1.5 miles


Adam Eaker, Assistant Curator of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, presenting a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I at Press Preview of Legion's Tudor exhibition  (Martin Chapman, Legion of Honor Curator of Decorative Art at right)

The first two portraits below of Elizabeth I were painted decades apart, but unless you look closely, the Queen looks relatively unchanged. Her hair is still red-gold, her face unlined and white, her posture comanding and regal, her dress sumptous, she is bedecked in stunning gold and jewels. Wherever you encounter her, she is forever youthful, strong, powerful.

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I

This on-going similarity of image is no accident, of course. She was only the second female in England to sit on the throne, there were many (mostly Catholic) protesters to her coronation, the exchequer was in depleted state, and she was unmarried.  Her image was her most important vehicle of self-promotion to her fellow countrypeople and abroad. To maintain control over that image she mandated that any portrait of Queen Elizabeth had to be approved by the Queen herself before it was finalized and presented to the public. She controlled what the artists were allowed to include in the portraits and requested that they add or subtract features. 

Within her country her many Catholic enemies made it unsafe for her to travel around. So she chose to use portraits to present herself to her people, and it was essential that they showed an image of Elizabeth that would impress her subjects. Similarly abroad she needed to dispell any thoughts of monetary or personal, 'womanly' weakness. By design,  Queen Elizabeth I was often painted in extraordinarily sumptuous  masculine styled outfits, wearing a ruff around her neck. She wanted to be presented as equal to a powerful man, yet still with the“warmth, beauty and goodness” of being a woman.

And so it went throughout the 45 years of her reign, from her mid 20's to her late 60's.  The red hair was a wig and the white face was achieved through white lead-based paste.  The posture was nearly always fictitious because, of the over 200 portraits that were done of her, she only posed on eight occasions. But the jewelry and gowns were as lavish as portrayed, she herself was unfailingly intelligent and regal, and her reign is generally considered one of the most glorious in English history.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Art and Dynasty: Henry VIII, Tapestries --- Day 12/181 & 182

Walk: Various stores: Closet Caper Returns, Hood

Distance: 2.5 miles, 4.5 miles

So, Ciwt feels like a bit of a fraud blithely citing all this CIWT information about the Tudors.  She was a history major in college and still enjoys history, But English history bamboozled her.  So many bloodlines, wars, murders; so much subtrafuge she had a hard time keeping it all straight. Nevertheless, onward with the Tudors in CIWT.

Elizabeth Cleland, Metropolitan Museum Curator of European sculpture and decorative presenting a tapestry at the recent Legion of Honor Press Preview of the Tudors exhibition

At the time of his death Henry,VIII owned over 2450 highest quality tapestries.  They adorned the many building works he undertook like St. James's Palace, the Palace of Nonsuch, Whitehall and Hampton Court in addition to the ones he inherited: Greenwich, Richmond and Windsor Castle.  All of them as well as other residences were furnished with abundant dazzling tapestries. Sadly very little of the interior decoration of Henry's period survives.  Just over 100 tapestries are left, but those are a feast for the eyes.

Tapestry was the premiere wall art in Henry VIII's age, the renaissance. By the early middle ages workshops throughout Europe were already producing textile hangings and adding prestige to well-to-do collectors.  At some point an unknown artist conceived the idea of representing stories in these weavings - as opposed to merely decorative patterns - and tapestry embarked on its own glorious career in the figurative arts. Rooms hung with tapestries were designed to impress and create a majestic atmosphere. They were the primary decorative form at the royal court exceeding other works of art, including paintings, in status and expense. 

Many of the best tapestries were designed by artists who were renowned painters so the figurative artwork is superb.
tapestry detail
Often on a grand scale and woven in story telling multiples with silk threads wrapped in silver and gold it was not rare to see them covering all the walls of a huge royal room and telling historical or biblical stories.  Castles were cold at best so, beyond decoration, tapetries blocked drafts and retained heat well before the advent of central heating.  Because they are made of pliable fiber, they could  be rolled and transported.  For major state and religious ceremonies, tapestries were hung on the outside of buildings, suspended from balconies or attached directly exterior walls or lying flat on ceremonial table tops or even lining streets.  Wherever they were, they were arresting, distinctive, exquisite.

Ciwt may have difficulty retaining all the nuances of English history, but she has no trouble at all being awed by the tapestries commissioned by Henry VIII. 

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Art and Dynasty: Henry VIII --- Day 12/180

 Walk: No, closet caper

Armor garniture, probably of King Henry VIII of England (r. 1509-47)*

More confident than his father and in possession of a full treasury, Henry VIII spent lavishly on the construction of new palaces and sumptuous works of art to adorn them.  Seeking to rival the courts of his counterparts, especially Francis I of France, Henry raised the English court to a new level of sophistication.  He severed ties with the Catholic Church and established himself as Supreme Head of the Church of England, thus giving him both spiritual and secular power over his subjects.  Although today he is most widely known for his later more tyrannical reign, it is he who was largely responsible for the lasting English artistic achievements of the middle ages through his  patronage of superior artists in many fields.

* Henry was 6' 2"

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Art and Dynasty: Henry VII --- Day 12/179

Walk: Curran Theater (Into the Woods)

Distance: 4.5 miles

Cope of Henry VII (1499-1505) Velvet cloth-of-gold, brocaded with loops of silver-gilt and silver, embroaidery on tabby linen in silver-gilt thread and silk.  English with cloth woven in Florence, Italy    (Front view)

Last month, along with much of the world, Ciwt watched the coronation of Charles III as King of the United Kingdom and many other titles.  It was a magnificent ceremony, the orderly culmination of his ascending to throne automatically upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. 

But this orderly, ceremonial transfer of the crown from monarch to monarch is at odds with history.  Historically has not been easy becoming King or Queen of England and usually involved prolonged physical, legal, religious battles over territory and bloodlines.  Certainly the beginning of the Tudor Dynesty was one of most complicated and tenuous.  It's first monarch, Henry Tudor VII's bloodline was to the former King was tenuous and tiny, and he only succeeded to the throne after killing his most formidable rival in battle to end the War of the Roses.  So the throne he ascended to was shakey at best. 

But Henry's strategic sense of victorious combat blossomed under his crown. He healed the feud with his strongest rival family by taking one of them, Elizabeth of York, as his wife and built alliances and secured his fledgling dynsty by marrying his children to foreign royalty. His exchequer was limited along with his initial stature in the eyes of his kingdom and the rest of the world, primarily Europe, but through politics and miserliness, he amassed a fortune and built a stable foundation for his younger son Henry VII. 

To the everlasting joy of art and artifact lovers, the only area where Henry VII lavished his funds was the arts.  He understood the literally awesome power of art and sought out the most talented and avant garde painters, wood workers, weavers and other artisans in his country and abroad and kept them busy with commisions to produce the most dazzling artworks in the Western world at that time.  It was art as propaganda: any country with the stability, funds, discernment was a country to be reconded with, and any citizen of such a country felt pride and trust in their monarch.

Imagine all the clergy officiating at the altar of an English Catholic church service wearing sumptuous vestments like this Cope commissioned by Henry.  It is enormous, the threads are silver and golden, they catch the candlelight and glisten.  The whole altar is awesomely golden as a perfectly crafted instrument plays newly commissioned English music and the building resonates with the tones of Latin text being chanted.  The visuals and music are overwhelmingly compelling and redound to the King and country of England.  Thus, primarily was the magnificent and storied Tudor dynasty established. 

Cope of Henry VII (1499-1505) Velvet cloth-of-gold, brocaded with loops of silver-gilt and silver, embroaidery on tabby linen in silver-gilt thread and silk.  English with cloth woven in Florence, Italy    (Back view)

Friday, June 23, 2023

Those Tudors --- Days 177 & 178

Walks: Legion of Honor (tour with friends), Legion of Honor (Press Preview)
Distances: 3 miles, 2.5 miles

After Hans Holbein the Younger, Portrait of Henry VIII , after 1537, o/c
(age ca.46) 

Since the portrait above or something similar is the way Ciwt has always seen England's Henry VIII (1491-1547) portrayed, she was very surprised today to encounter this portrait of him as a young man.

Meynnart Wewyck, Portrait of Henry VIII, ca 1509, oil on wood
(age ca 19)

And knowing mostly about Henry's misadventures with his six wives, she was also interested to learn that Henry actually was a Renaissance man.  In his youth he was athletic and highly intelligent.  A contemporary observer said of him "he speaks good French, Latin and Spanish, is very religious hearing three masses daily when he hunts...He is extremely fond of hunting and also fond of tennis."
She also learned to her surprise that he wrote both books (including a best seller condemning Martin Luther) and music, was an accomplished player of many instruments and was a lavish patron of the arts.

That last, his arts patronage, would likely be the thing he's most remembered for, if not for his fight with the Catholic Church and treatment of all those wives.  He actively recruited and patronized the most talented and avant garde artists from all over Europe to see to it that the English arts were so magestically exceptional they empowered his dynasty, the Tudors, within his country and throughout the world.  

So where did Ciwt learn all this new information about Henry VIII and the distinctive art and visual propaganda that was central to the splendor and drama of the Tudor court?  This was at the Press Preview of the Legion of Honor's show The Tudors: Art and Majesty and Renaissance EnglandIt opens in a couple of days with a full complement of sumptuous paintings, precious jewels, rich tapestries and rare artifacts. The short, impactful, highly dramatic Tudor dynasty is brought vividly to life well beyond Hollywood movies and TV productions.  Stay tuned .....


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Longest Day into Summer --- Days 12/175 & 176

Walks:  Hood, Corte Madera (shopping for summer clothes in case Ciwt gets away from cold SF)

Distances: 3 miles



Monday, June 19, 2023

Prep Day --- Day 12/174

 Walk: No (prodedure Prep Day, if you've had it, you know what Ciwt is referring to)

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Hello, My Name Is..... --- Day 12/173

Walk: Orpheum Theater (The Book of Mormon)

Distance: 4.5 miles

Last show of the current run of The Book of Mormon in San Francisco.  Every seat was filled and now the trucks are lined up and ready to move it to its next venue.  Wherever that is, fun ahead!  Ciwt finally took the advice of her friend who has seen it Four times and now she can't wait for those trucks to roll right back here where she can see it again.  

Saturday, June 17, 2023

GrownUp Movie at Last --- Day 12/172

 Walk: AMC Kabuki (Past Lives) 

Distance: 3.5 miles

Teo Yoo     Greta Lee 

Back to the movies at last!!  And a very good one about two specific people, but about events, questions and emotions that touch everyone's lives at some point.  

Extra bonus for New York lovers: You get to see the city with clear blue skies and no crowds - even the Statue of Liberty up close, which not that many New Yorkers can say. 

Ciwt thinks Thelma Adams of AARP Movies for Grown ups sums Past Lives up very well: 

In this leisurely, graceful, mesmerizing romance, the magnetic Lee navigates between the past and the present, pragmatism and magical possibilities.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Still Catching Up with Self --- Days 12/170 & 171

Walks: Hood

Distances: 4 miles

Getting There......

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Leaving Home 2 --- Day 12/169

Walk: Presidio

Distance: 6.7 miles

Memory Lane

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Leaving Home --- Day 12/168

Walk: Hood

Distance: 4/5 miles

                      Then, but torn down 

And replaced by this (which covers much of the property)

PS - Guess which one was the one Ciwt grew up in .......

Monday, June 12, 2023

Returning --- Day 12/167

Walk: Hood Errands

Distance: 7 miles

Always so much to catch up on even after short trips.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Looking at 60 Years --- Day 12/166

Walk: No, Settling back in

Distance: n/a

Town Ciwt Grew Up In  


Saturday, June 10, 2023

Bouquets to Art 5 ---- Day 12/165

 Walk: MSP airport

Soho Ikebana Art Studio, Spho Sakai, Riji; Veronica Leung and Dorcas Walton, assistants
Ruth Asawa, Untitled, ca 1963

Friday, June 9, 2023

Bouquets to Art 4 --- Day 12/164

 Walk: Minneapolis and Surroundings

Yukiko's Floral Desigh Studio, Yukiko Neibert; Peter Neibert, assistant
Charles Caryl Coleman, Azaleas and Apple Blossoms, 1879

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Bouquets to Art 3 --- Day 12/163

Walk: Minneapolis and Surroundings


Claudia Moye Designs; Carlo Ruiz, assistant
Robert Henri, O in Persian Costume, 1913

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Bouquets to Art 2 --- Day 12/162

Walk: around SFO


Hillsborough Garden Club, Melissa Olson and Amy Conn, Anne Longworth assistant
Wayne Thiebaud, Three Machines, 1963

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Grand Central Bouquets to Art --- Day 12/161

 Walk: de Young Museum (Bouquets to Arts)

Distance: 4.5 miles

So Bouquets to Art, the San Francisco Museum's annual fund raiser is back in person for six days of glorious and clever arrangements by local florists.  As you can see, it is Very popular with people coming from all over the Bay Area and beyond to enjoy and admire.

And, dear readers, you will be treated to some of Ciwt's favorites from the event while she takes a short trip that you are sure to hear all about when she returns.

The huge 'chandelier' above in the Wilsey Court  of the deYoung was created by Patricia Gillepsie and her workers at sharpstick studio in Oakland

Monday, June 5, 2023

June Holiday Flower --- Day 12/160

Walk: Hood

Distace: 3 miles

Holidays in June?  Maybe Ciwt's prize amaryllis which she got as a gift for the winter holidays knows about some. After months in a dark closet completely ignored it is blooming again.

(See Day 12/154)

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Sunday in the Park with Ciwt --- Day 12/159

 Walk: Park Next Door

Distance: 3 miles

Ciwt's neighbors LOVE their park.  And take good care of it.  

Saturday, June 3, 2023

One Year In --- Days 12/157 & 158

Walks: Presidio, Hood

Distances: 3 miles

Just a year in her new place and already time for a closet caper.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Dog Park --- Day 12/156

Walk: Presidio

Distance: 4 miles

Next best thing to having a dog is living right next to a dog park and watching their romps.

Here are a few of them the other morning: