June 03, 2014

Visiting the Norton Simon Museum

Last weekend we went to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA.  It was our first time to visit, but I feel like I kinda grew up with Norton due to the Cezanne poster that has hung for decades in various spots in my parents' house(s).
Current location: Mom and Dad's bedroom.
Photo credit: Thanks, Mom!

I hadn't given that poster a thought in a long while until we came across the original painting in one of the galleries.  It surely made me smile. :)

Paul Cezanne, Tulips in a Vase

It was exciting to see Degas and his many sculptures and paintings, including "Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen" and "Dancers in the Rotunda at the Paris Opera", as Jillian had studied him for a biographical report in her Freshman Art Class.

Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen
Photo credit:  Jillian Flaherty via Instagram

"Dancers in the Rotunda at the Paris Opera"
Apologies for the blurry photo.  By the time I noticed her and got out
the camera, she was on the move!

Jeremy was not enthused by the visit.  He was a bit miffed that he had been dragged out of his self-proclaimed "nerd cave" of a room, forced to put on *gasp* pants, when it was a 3-day weekend and he'd yet to have a pajama day.  I tried to pull him out of the funk by pointing out a few paintings and then bringing up Nina Katchadourian's hilarious airplane bathroom photos:  "Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style" on my iPhone.  He was not amused.



(Funny, we were checking out the ranch house at William S. Hart Park yesterday, and as we walked back to the car he said, "Wow!  That place was, like, 100 years old!"  Jillian and I chimed in that some of the paintings we were looking at last weekend were from the 15th Century, and the Buddhist sculptures were  circa 150 - 350 A.D.  He was blown away!  It still surprises me the things that will go over his head unless they are pointed out specifically to him, and that they must be pointed out in a specific manner in order for him to truly register them.)  

I was, however, amused in the Flemish Style, and the paintings and pieces that spoke to me this first visit were all about bringing me joy, making me smile.

I love this 14th sculpture trio from the Pisan School.  The full cheeks of the bagpipe playing angel seem whimsically fun, being crafted in an era that I think of as so dark and serious.

And, how about these two portraits?  They are so fresh, real and unstuffy!  The first, a selfie by Maurice-Quentin de la Tour:  I love the twinkle in his laughing eyes that speaks even more than the slight smile on his lips.  The second, by Guillaume Voiriot, so seemingly candid as if this unnamed man was casually reading, heard his name called and looked up just as a photo was taken of him.  Knowing how long it actually took to capture this image in pastel--it's fantastic!

Maurice-Quentin de La Tour

Guillaume Voiriot

I love how a museum can "show" you different things depending on your mood and who you are with.  If you ever think, "Oh, I've already been to that one," I say, "Ah, but not today!" and I urge you to visit again and see how your perspective is different based on so many varying factors: the weather, your company or your solitude, current affairs, what you did yesterday, what you have scheduled in the upcoming week.  All of it, all of it will play a part in your experience.

I sure am looking forward to going back!
Plus, we found an excellent little Italian restaurant where we had lunch.  It was the smell that drew us inside.  :)

Wishing you a joy-filled day!

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