By Iride Aparicio

Photos: Courtesy Fine Arts Museums

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Those interested in Art can start learning about it this year by observing it and reading or hearing about it. If they are within distance from San Francisco, all they need to do is to go to visit the galleries of the de Young Museum or the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, or both, and be a part of an special program called ART PASSPORT, (Read our Article on ART PASSPORT, Museums from Home, for a detail description of the program) which is a teaching/learning program taught by different members of the Museum Curatorial staff to the audience, in which they share their knowledge about the museums' s artworks from their permanent collections. And because both museums are rich in art, each visit will give you the opportunity to learn something you did not know before.

As you walk around the different galleries and read the printed information provided by the museum to identify the different Museum pieces, or listen to the rental taped lectures, mentally, you will be transported to the past. You will learn history, from watching the historical objects, something about jewelry of different countries, fashions, religious rites, and even geography, as you see the paintings of places that you may never be able to visit in real life.

There is no snow falling in San Francisco, but inside the de Young Museum you could even feel the cold of winter by observing

By George Henry Durrie
Gallery 23 at the de YOUNG Museum

Emma Acker, the Associate Curator, of American Art at the Museums, describes the painting as "The New England landscape near Durrie's home in New Heaven Connecticut, a community with deep-rooted support for the abolitionist movement. The painting was painted before the American Civil War (l861- l865) and it depicts a scene of industrious prosperity. It also celebrates the virtues of the Northern free labor, often contrasted in the press with the moral evils and inherent inequalities of the Southern slave labor." She also explains that as a painter, Durrie's popular genre scenes, for years, helped shape in America, an idealized view of New England's rural view of life, as calm and peaceful. A view that still persist today.
Another marvelous winter's painting in the museum is   

By Willard Leroy Metcalf
( not currently on view to the public.)


According to Lauren Palmor, Associated Curator, American Art, this beautiful snow-dusted landscapes, is one of the meditative winter scenes of Metcalf, an American painter, born in Lowell, Massachusetts, who studied at the school of the Museum of Fine Movement Impressionism Landscape Art.

"If we observe, carefully, the painting," she writes in her description, "we will notice that it includes many closely observed details (such as the trees reflection in the icy lake and the trees themselves) that evoke the artist's personal experience painting the scenery around him as he studied his settings, by placing his easel outdoors in freezing New England temperatures. The realism of this painting is such, that standing before the scene one almost sensed the biting chill in the air and the peaceful silence of the snowfall.
Saint Francis Venerating the Crucifix 
Find it in Gallery 5 at the Legion of Honor Museum

As many of us know, Saint Francis of Assisi (From whom the City of San Francisco was named) was a Dominican monk who vowed to lead a life of poverty and piety to emulate the life of Christ. As a painter, EL GRECO developed a distinctive style of painting characterized by flickering brushwork and a somber palette that augment the intensity of the scene.  the Cretan-born painter called "EL GRECO," worked primarily in Spain, so maybe inspired by other Spanish paintings os Saints, he decided to represent the ascetic saint, as he lived, in a desolate landscape, gazing at a crucifix balanced upon a skull. EL GRECO also represents the saint as he usually was: described to be: humble and in deep meditation, as he contemplates devotedly the crucified Christ.

Fishing Under the Ice on the Maas
(17th Century) By Aelbert Jacobszoom Cuyp

Curator Emily Beeny in Charge of European Paintings, explains the picture of the leading Dutch Golden Age painters of landscapes, as "in the warm, pink light of the late winter afternoon, fisherman work together to drag a large net through a hole in the frozen surface of the river Maas, The church tower on the horizon and the nearby windmill form the skyline of Cuyp's hometown Dordrecht, which he frequently painted and drew. The landscape is animated by both labor and leisure. While the men attempt to catch the fish below the ice, skater and horse-drawn sleighs traverse the frozen river.

Other exhibitions in the museums which may be of interest to the public will be THE GOLD OF THE PHARAOHS the greatest collection of RAMSES II objects and Egyptian Jewelry ever shown in the United States, at the de Young Museum and the Q+A: Making Lhola Amira y Close Look of Alaska's Native Art.

de Young Museum                                 The Legion of Honor
Golden Gate Park                                    Lincoln Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive          100 34th Avenue
San Francisco, Ca 94118                       San Francisco, CA 94121

Telephones:de Young (415) 750 3603 and Legion (415) 760 3600