The Legion Of Honor – part three – medieval and early modern art

There are examples of painting, stained glass, sculpture, bas reliefs, and tapestry here to enjoy.  But first, here are my thoughts, in this final installment of this photo essay, on the experience at The Legion of Honor in San Francisco some weeks ago now.

We saw many visitors to the museum that day who clearly had ethnic roots in South Asia and in East Asia.  As historical, traditional, authentic Western culture is being relegated to museums, it is perhaps fitting that non-Westerners come see it there as an artifact from the past, or a bygone era.

We, at this blog, lament the decline, devaluation of, and loss of much of Western culture in these terrible, confusing times.  We moderns, all the while we complain about the state of the world today, forget that we take so much for granted that was given to the world by Western culture that was forged through the efforts of generations of ethnic Europeans who were mostly Christians (albeit they did sometimes fail to truly live out the Christian principles in their lives).  And, as unpalatable or distasteful as it may be for today’s demoralised atheists and agnostics and New Age groupies (neo-pagans), Christianity had a major influence on the development of Western culture over the past 17 centuries (since the time of Constantine and the end of the Roman persecutions).  That is historical fact, not propaganda.

So-called multiculturalism seems to me to be fake or faux culture.  But, in a sense this promotion of multiculturalism and the purposeful non-assimilation in Europe and the US today by non-Western immigrants, refugees and “benefit bandits” is blow back from the destructive interference in non-Western lands by the US and European powers in recent centuries.  The former colonial and imperial powers are now being colonized or invaded by former subject peoples.  (Woe to Europe for ousting old Moammar in Libya and backing the various factions against Assad in Syria.  Waves of migrants are now flooding Europe because of those terribly misguided policies.)  Enough said.

Food for thought:  What is culture?  Is gangsta rap culture?


The first image here depicts the Annunciation where the angel informs Mary that she is to bear Jesus.  The painting is from the 14th or 15th century.



The relief work here possibly depicts the finding of the boy, Jesus, in the Temple.  Such work in stone is most impressive and requires much effort and skill on the part of the artist.



Another work in stone.



Stained glass window depicting one of the Christian saints (I think this was from the 14th century).



In this view. we see the same stained glass work from just above and a more recent work in stained glass on the right.



“Truth and Beauty” was the name of the visiting exhibition that we wanted to see.



This next art work seems to combine painting with woodwork.  This was 13th or early 14th century work.



Here is another painting from the Middle Ages, late medieval period.



Depicted in this next piece is Jesus’ body after the Crucifixion.



The subject of the next work is the Ascension of Jesus (40 days after the Resurrection on Easter Sunday).



This next image appears as if it might be of a centuries old woodcut that was reproduced photographically.  We are guessing here, and as this area of the exhibit was quite crowded, I had to hurry to try and get a photo or two and neglected to read the informational plaque.  We see a few green blobs that are likely caused by the overhead lights striking the glass at odd angles.



This zoomed in view of the work, that was rather high up on the wall, gives us better detail.  As in many late medieval works, there is a human skull in the lower left of the work.  Death was often depicted in such works by a skull or a full human skeleton.  Whether because of disease or famine or warfare, death was a constant companion of the peoples of Europe during the Middle Ages.  The so-called Black Death, the latest pandemic of bubonic plague, spread through Europe between 1347 and 1351, and caused many deaths.



This next art work on display behind glass depicts the Crucifixion (which Christians observe on Good Friday).  We are not sure when this work was done, and it may be from the early modern period (17th century?).



A closer look here of the same art work serves to call our attention to what lies at the base of the Cross:  a human skull, possibly resting on long bones.  We think this is to signify that by His death and subsequent resurrection, Christ defeated death and made it possible for the Christian faithful to have eternal life.



We now look at tapestry that was on display and was made in the late Middle Ages.  These are inspired by plants and flowers.



Labor intensive, as in hand-made, are true tapestries the world over.  The artistry of this tapestry indicates a certain serious commitment to quality work on the part of the artisan(s).



More intricate tapestry from centuries ago.



Austere and severe is this image in stone.



A work of European sculpture in more recent times.



This painting below is an example of early modern art.  The model, now long dead, is preserved in this painting from a time before photography.



Not sure, but I think this was an upcoming exhibition.  Many collections of art works and/or artifacts are loaned to and among various museums as the art works go on tour as it were.



In our final images, we take a brief look inside the exhibition store.



In the exhibition store, there were books, and calendars and assorted souvenirs available for purchase.  Here is one such calendar.  Albrecht Durer (German) was known for woodcuts back in the early 1500s.



A calendar for 2019 featuring the surreal and fantasy like art of William Blake.



copyright 2018 –

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