Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Hey chickens! Glad you could make it. You’re just in time to play tourist again, and tonight we’ll be loading my camera’s memory with a palette of visual goodies found inside Santa Barbara’s own Museum of Art. Our SBMA, if you will, located in the heart of downtown SB, and soon to be located in yours.

What’s not to love about a museum that allows you to browse its masterpieces gratis every Thursday night? The SBMA’s custom of offering free attendance the first Thursday of the month has been extended to include every Thursday evening, no matter what the date, though the small donation asked otherwise is certainly worth the expense.

marble statuary

Senior, Student and Group Rates available.

Not only are the exhibits phenomenal, the atmosphere is perfect.  Jim and I walked into the main salon to the soft strains of contemporary jazz underscored by the gurgle of indoor fountain, and after purchasing a reasonably priced glass of wine & bottled, imported beer, proceeded to admire our surroundings. Roman statuary sculpted in the Greek tradition, to be specific.

Mithras sacrificing the Bull.

Itinerant docent Molora was happy to be even more specific, educating me on some of the finer points of the figures and busts: informing me this style of unadorned, marble sculpture had been a break from the Roman custom of painting statues in gaudy colors, and that the David-like figure I was admiring so much was indeed modeled after the famous statue by Michelangelo.  At 8 feet tall, the look-alike “Hermes” was roughly half David’s size.

I still think you’re marble-ous.

Still larger than life, though, and a fitting stand-in for Jimmy. After capturing the Kodak moment, we waved good-bye to my marble man, eager to check out the nineteenth century French Art salon, a mainstay exhibit hall that showcases museum-owned works by Monet and Van Gogh—to name just a few—and which entrance was fronted by the current exhibit on loan.

Hollowed Bronze–Roman

Marble sculpture–Roman

This “borrowed” room was exceptional, too, its walls studded with one-of-a-kind paintings by Edvard Munch and Van Gogh (others, too, but I’m partial) and though they were truly awesome to see, their on loan status made photos a no-no.  You’ll just have to go-go to see these breathtaking works, and while breathtaking might read as trite, the viewing of Munch’s: “The Kiss” and “Kneeling Female Nude Crying”, along with Van Gogh’s: “Lilacs”, rendered this admirer just that.

The entrance to the French artists salon–directly AFTER the truly fabulous on-loan exhibit. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? What you’re missing?

So before I asphyxiated, we moved on, snapping these stellar photos in the French Art salon:

“Villas in Bordighera”–oil on canvas, Monet, 1884.

“Die Alte Brucke” (the old bridge)–Max Pechstein, oil on canvas, 1910.

“The Outskirts of Paris”–Van Gogh, oil on canvas, 1886. (property of SBMA)

Moving on to the American artists exhibit:

“Moonrise in Greece”–Frederic Edwin Church, oil on canvas, 1889. Despite the foreign sounding name, this painting hangs in the “American” section, and proves the Romans weren’t the only civilization fascinated by the Greeks.

Indian Rock, Narrangansett Sound, Rhode Island--William S. Haseltine

Indian Rock, Narragansett Sound, Rhode Island–William S. Haseltine, oil on canvas, 1863.

“The Haunted House”–George Luks, oil on canvas, circa 1925.

And rounding out our visit with a trip upstairs. This stair-climbing venture proved as inspiring as it was invigorating, since the square of parquet floors led us through a wending route of Japanese, Tibetan, Indian and Chinese art.

Believe it or not, this fearsome head is just one of two customary figures affixed to the entrance of a Buddhist Temple. The “Ni-O” (two kings) are “thunderbolt-wielding strong men”.

“Terminator of Death: (embracing consort)–Tibetan, 15th century bronze.

Bodhisattva of Compassion Guanyin seated in “Royal Ease”–wood; Chinese Jin Dynasty. (1115-1234)

And all this on a Thursday! If Thursday nights in SB are this visually beautiful—for this visually free—what might a TGIF in Santa Barbara hold in store? Tune in next week & see.

Until then, chick-e-roos.

About Charron's Chatter

I bring to you an arrow, whole, Use it, or break it, But if you choose to take it --Know-- With it also, I will go. © Karen Robiscoe @1992

4 Responses to “Santa Barbara Museum of Art”

  1. so beautiful and what a wonderful freebie:)

  2. Awesome museum. I love places like that just as much as I love old books. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Karen, you’ve done it again. the photos are as mesmerizing as your poetry! Keep spreading the love. — pancha-coochie-mama 😉

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