Saturday, May 30, 2009

Discovering the delights of the LACMA Sculpture Garden - Part one...

Right beside the captivating Urban Light installation and visible from Wilshire Boulevard as you drive by is the B. Gerald Cantor Sculpture Garden.
B Gerald Cantor sculpture Garden at LACMA, Wilshire Blvd
It's a great little space to walk through, or sit for a while, and appreciate the bronze pieces in the L.A. sunshine. 
B Gerald Cantor Sculpture Garden at LACMA
One of the best things is that admission is free, so between noon and 8pm most days (except Friday until 9pm and Wednesday when LACMA is closed), you can enjoy this tranquil sculpture garden.
Bronze sculpture garden at LACMA
On the sculpture terrace above the garden you'll find a bust of one of the main contributors to the bronze sculptures on display, French artist and infamous sculptor, Auguste Rodin.

Bust of Rodin
Bust of Rodin bronze sculpture by Bourdelle
The bronze bust was completed in 1909 to 1910 by fellow French artist and student of Rodin, Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, who lived from 1861 to 1929.
Bust of Rodin bronze sculpture LACMA
Rodin was one of the preeminent sculptors of his time and lived from 1840 to 1917. Once on a visit to Paris I even visited the Rodin Museum (Musee Rodin), so it's interesting to see so many of his works here in Los Angeles.

Head of the Figure of Eloquence
Head of the figure of Eloquence bronze sculpture
Close by the Rodin bust you'll also find another bronze head, again by Bourdelle.
Head of the figure of Eloquence bronze sculpture at LACMA
It's a slightly less happy looking soul entitled Head of the Figure of Eloquence from 1916 to 1918.

Herakles - The Archer
Harakles The Archer Bourdelle bronze sculpture 1909
Further along the terrace overlooking the sculpture garden you'll find one of Bourdelle's more arresting pieces from 1909, Herakles - The Archer.
Herakles - The Archer sculpture 1909 by Bourdelle at LACMA
Bourdelle was influenced by ancient Greek (hence the statue of Hercules) and Medieval sculpture and apparently was also a great believer in returning sculpture to the outdoors.
Herakles - The Archer bronze sculpture 1909 by Bourdelle at LACMA
I love how striking this muscled bronze sculpture looks against the blue Californian sky, with palm trees in the background.

Marsyas 
(Torso of the Falling Man)
Marsyas Torso of the Falling Man sculpture
Rodin's Marsyas Torso of the Falling Man at LACMA
Funnily enough I've become quite enamoured with sculpture recently, between trips to Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Garden at The Getty and other local artworks (of course it has nothing to do with some of these sculptures having the muscley physiques of Greek gods).
Rodin's Torso of the Falling Man from behind
At the top of the stairs leading down to the B. Gerald Cantor Sculpture Garden at LACMA you'll find this impressive male torso by Rodin, first modeled c.1882 to 1889 and this version cast in 1970.
Rodin's Marsyas Torso of the Falling Man sculpture at LACMA
Rodin's Marsyas - Torso of the Falling Man sculpture
Next up is another piece by Rodin found amongst the palm trees in the garden itself.

Orpheus 
Auguste Rodin's Orpheus bronze sculpture at LACMA
The statue Orpheus was probably first modeled in 1890 to 1900 and was cast in 1969.
Rodin's Orpheus sculpture at LACMA
Apparently in Greek mythology, Orpheus, son of the God of Music, Apollo, tried to bring his wife Euridyce from the Underworld by enchanting Hades, its ruler, with his music. His plan nearly succeeded, but he couldn't resist the temptation to look back when he'd been instructed by Hades not to and so he lost Euridyce forever.
Orpheus bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin at LACMA
It's such a dramatic piece and worth viewing from all angles, especially interesting when looking down from above.

The Shade
The Shade by Auguste Rodin bronze at LACMA sculpture gardenThe Shade Rodin bronze sculpture
Finally for this installment of the bronze works on display in the LACMA Sculpture Garden is possibly my favourite piece, The Shade by Rodin.
The Shade by Auguste Rodin bronze sculpture at LACMA
The Shade Rodin bronze sculpture from behind
It's impressive body is on a par with Bourdelle's Herakles, but this statue has a much more handsome face.
The Shade Rodin bronze sculpture close up
Rodin's The Shade bronze sculpture at LACMA
This masculine sculpture was first modeled c.1880 and enlarged c.1901. This piece was cast by Musee Rodin in 1969.
The Shade Auguste Rodin bronze sculpture at LACMA
And there you have just a sampling of the wonderful collection of sculptures for your visual delight at LACMA in Los Angeles.

Come back tomorrow for even more bronze marvels to inspire you.

In honour of the French artists above - Au revoir, a bientot mes amis...  

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