I am ashamed to say that despite my rabid love for everything San Francisco and having inhabited the city with the stubborn possessiveness of an alley-cat, I had somehow never visited the Legion of Honor museum, the most beautiful public museum in the city and certainly one of the most visually breathtaking ones in the country till date. The location (Lincoln Park), resplendent with glimpses of the Golden gate bridge, blue waters of the Pacific and lush greenery, adds further to the charm of the beautiful Beaux-Arts building which is home to art spanning 4000 years of human history. So, I finally found myself at the museum last Sunday and cooled off in the gentle gaze of ornate paintings and sculptures. We enjoyed the permanent collection thoroughly and loved the ongoing special exhibit on British watercolors and oil sketches, displayed in conjunction with the famous British painter J.M.W. Turner’s work being exhibited at the sister De Young museum at the Golden Gate Park.
A must visit for art lovers, the permanent collection as well as special exhibits are to be imbibed in a leisurely stroll and at no point there is a feeling of being overwhelmed since the exhibits are not crowded or too extravagant. A good 3-4 hours is enough to satiate your love for all things cultural, with a musical treat thrown in for good measure (organ playing on weekends). The museum not only nests famous art pieces of the Rococo and Victorian era, but also those from the Baroque period (my favorite being the Allegory of Geometry, by Laurent de La Hyre ; being the nerd that I am) and renaissance period such as Monet’s Lillies or the impressionist master Degas’s works or Raffaelli’s The Absinthe Drinkers. However, my favorite still remains the sculptures by Auguste Rodin, the famous French sculptor and widely considered to be the father of modern sculpture. The Legion of Honor boasts the largest collection of his works (outside of Musee de Paris) which includes the famous ones such as “The Thinker” (right at the entrance of the museum), “the kiss” and the “Burghers of Calais” (I couldn’t get enough of these amazing figurines) and both creations cast both in metal and plaster. For more information on Legion of Honor, please visit their website. Hope you enjoy the photographs (flash prohibited) and do visit the museum for a date with art! Read more about my other posts on San Francisco here and here.