Insert Discussion on “What Is Art?” Here

Eternal IdolAs long as we had this three-day weekend I wanted to make the most of it by getting myself a dose of culture, along with some sun and fresh air. Museums are a great place to fill up on class and refinement, assuming they aren’t run over with tourists in fanny packs and bedazzled tank tops, so I had a look through some guide books on the Bay Area and discovered that the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University contains the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of the Musee Rodin in Paris.

It just so happens that the Rodin museum is just about my favorite place in Paris (does it sound hoity toity to say I have a favorite place in Paris?), and one of the best museums I’ve ever been to, so finding out that there was a smaller version right in my own backyard was pretty damn exciting. Finding out that it’s a free museum just about sent me dancing in circles. So I took mom and we had a nice afternoon on Sunday wandering around and staring at naked, chisled bronze men. Even without touching them, it’s pretty much the most action I’ve had in a while.

The museum has more than just Rodins, there are old Greek objects along with ceremonial masks from Papua New Guinea and a section devoted to contemporary art. But the highlights are clearly the outdoor sculpture garden, which includes Rodin’s Gates of Hell, and a circular room with the Thinker smack dab in the middle. 

I thought the only Thinker was in Paris, but it turns out there are 21 Thinkers in all. Apparently Rodin made several copies of his molds so that more castings could be done of all his pieces, even after he died. I guess that’s the difference between sculpture and paining, you can’t just pull out a mold of the Mona Lisa and make an extra dozen.

If I was all the colors I’d paint you pretty in gold in a picture,


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