Dedicated to Art and Free to All

The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the few art museums that allow a visitor to take photographs of its collection.  I appreciate this, because it allows me to easily gather great content from master artists.  The Saint Louis Art Museum truly lives up to its motto, “Dedicated to Art and Free to All”.  The following pictures show works from the museum’s general collection.  The synopses are the museum’s own descriptions. 

The Captive Charger (Charles Ferdinand Wimar, 1854) is a dramatic scene of Indians returning home at dusk with a captured horse.  The sense of drama is heightened by the silhouettes of the Indians, horses, weapons and tall grasses against a brilliant yellow-orange sunset.  Fascinated with Indian ways of life, Wimar sought to record their portraits and rituals, and often concentrated on the conflict between the Indians and the encroaching settlers.

The androgynous Guanyin (Chinese, Northern Song dynasty, 960-1127) in his jeweled crown is richly clothed in the light, diaphanous silks of an Indian prince.  The figure is still and composed, but there is a sense of flowing movement that begins in the complicated openwork of the crown, moves down through the sinuous locks of hair, and continues along the body amid swirls of silk and soft scarves.  The relaxed posture known as “great royal ease” and the human scale of this sculpture coincided with the 12th-century idea of making Buddhist images more lifelike and appealing.

The Saint Louis Art Museum broke ground last month on a major expansion to the museum, a whole new wing.  This is an expansion that has been in the works for quite some time.  It was originally scheduled to kick off in 2008, but the recession pushed groundbreaking back a year.  The expansion will increase gallery space by a third.  Construction is expected to take two years.  The museum will stay open throughout the disruption.

A portion of Water Lilies (Claude Monet, c. 1916-26) is today’s header

Having achieved great commercial success in his gallery exhibitions of the 1890s, Monet purchased property at Giverny, where he cultivated magnificent gardens.  This mural-sized painting is part of a triptych featuring water lilies from the garden pond that he created by diverting a river.

For twenty-five years Monet obsessively painted the water lily motif at different times of the day.  This painting and its counterparts, currently located at the Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City and the Cleveland Museum of Art, envelop the viewer in a seemingly infinite field of subtle hues and intangible beauty.

5 thoughts on “Dedicated to Art and Free to All

  1. I went to Giverny on my first trip to France about 5 years ago. It was amazing! (and no – you can’t take pictures in his house.) The gardens are amazing and the lily pond — you can see exactly where he painted so many pieces. His studio has been converted into a gift shop (of course) but the space and light is amazing.

    Well worth a side trip if you’re ‘in the neighborhood’.

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