Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tatanka Part 2: A Costly Mistake

My wife wanted us to take a friend to see a Chinese art exhibit in San Francisco.  Being culturally clueless, I simply chose The Museum in San Francisco, which is the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.  Checking their exhibits online, it appeared to me that there was no Chinese art at the museum, but we went anyway.  A museum employee told us that we had gone to the wrong museum.  With more checking, it appears that we were really wanting the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.  The reason this mistake is costly is that I am now obligated to take my wife to the real location for the Terracotta warriors, which is in 西安 (Xi'an) China.  

Making the best of a disastrous situation, we went to the 17th century Dutch Masters special exhibit.  There were a large number of drawings and paintings with the highlight being a work entitled "Girl with a Pearl Earring" by Johannes Vermeer in 1665.  

After getting a closeup look at many of these Dutch paintings and then wandering the rest of the gallery, I could finally appreciate the superiority of their technique.  The eyes, nose and mouth were executed to a level of realism that simply could not be achieved by the other artists, while some of the other effects involving color and dynamic range would be extremely difficult to reproduce with photography. 

The art at De Young Museum comes from all over the planet, but two items stood out for special notice that were both more than 100 years old.  The first below is a representation of the Sioux Lakota Indian Sun Dance.  The second is of Indians hunting the bison.  The horse was first brought to America by the Europeans a century before the Dutch Masters were painting.  From Fanny Kelly's book, the Indians used steel arrow heads sold to them by the English in Canada, and then there were pots and kettles sold to them by American traders.


Delirious said...

I LOVE the Dutch masters! I wish I could see that exhibit!

You could wait until "free day" to take her to the Asian art museum. And if you wait until an hour before closing, I think you can get in to the Japanese gardens for free. :)

Max Coutinho said...

Hi Looney,

Oh yes; The "Girl with a pearl Earring" is a magnificent painting. Because of it, I watched the movie (with Colin Firth and Scarlet Johansson) - if the film is right, Johannes Vermeer was a dog, but he sure could paint beautifully.

I appreciate the Dutch artists, but I prefer the Italians and some of the British.

About your mistake: oy, that visit to Terracota warriors will cost you all right :).