Legion of Honor

The Truth about Alabaster

You may have heard the term alabaster used to describe the pristine skin of a beautiful woman or the smooth surface of statue, as in the case of The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy, on view at the Legion of Honor through December 31.

Jean de La Huerta and Antoine le Moiturier. Mourner no. 55, mourner with head uncovered, wiping his tears on his cloak with his right hand, 1443–1456/57. Alabaster. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Photo © FRAME (French Regional and American Museum Exchange) by Jared Bendis and François JAY.

Word Gallery: Workshop

Throughout art history, scholars have devised a special vocabulary to talk about art. These terms are very useful, but they are not always self-explanatory. So we thought we'd take you into the art historical word gallery to provide some definitions commonly used to describe artistic styles, techniques, or movements in art.

Will Work for Art: Chris Huson

"Will Work for Art" takes you behind the scenes to meet the people who make the Fine Arts Museums work. This week we meet Chris Huson, the Museums' courier, whose tireless trips between the two museums keep the staff in communication with each other and the outside world. Originally from Chicago, Chris has been with the Museums for thirty-two years!

Art Students Draw Inspiration from Museum Masterpieces

The academic tradition of learning to draw by imitating the works of established masters has been alive for centuries. Professor Rick Rodrigues has been bringing this rich tradition the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco since 1995, when he initiated a partnership between the City College of San Francisco and the Museums. Professor Rodrigues's drawing classes cover a variety of skills and techniques, ranging from basic life-drawing using models and tone-drawing to more obscure old-master techniques, such as silverpoint drawing or staining with tea or coffee. His much-beloved classes are a deeply fulfilling experience, giving  young artists the opportunity to learn from art history's old masters directly in the museum setting.

Visitors are always welcome to sketch in the Museums' permanent collection galleries. Sketching in special exhibition galleries is by permission only and subject to lender and gallery restrictions. Please see our museum policies for more information.

Sketching in the Rodin Gallery at the Legion of Honor

City College San Francisco Students sketching in the Rodin Gallery at the Legion of Honor.

Education intern Megan Friel recently sat down with Professor Rodrigues, who is still passionately committed to the academic tradition of museum drawing after 16 years of teaching, to discuss his experiences directing the program.

Word Gallery: Passage

Throughout art history, scholars have devised a special vocabulary to talk about art. These terms are very useful, but they are not always self-explanatory. So we thought we'd take you into the art historical word gallery to provide some definitions commonly used to describe artistic styles, techniques, or movements in art.

A Life of Books: Remembering David Logan

Favorite Things: An Exhibition of Artist Books in Memory of David Logan, 1918–2011, a selection of books from the Reva and David Logan Collection of Illustrated Books, is currently on view at the Legion of Honor in through February 12, 2012. 

Comprising approximately 300 volumes, the Logan Collection is one of the foremost collections of modern artists’ books (also called livres d’artiste, or illustrated books) to find a home within a museum.

David and Reva Logan

FRAME|WORK: Fuji in Clear Weather (Red Fuji) by Katsushika Hokusai

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature the graphically arresting Red Fuji by renowned Japanese printmaker Katsushika Hokusai. A well-known Japanese saying suggests that you would be a fool not to climb Mount Fuji once, but a fool to do so twice. Since it is currently not on view, you would be a fool not to enjoy this virtual viewing of Mount Fuji!

Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760–1849). Fuji in Clear Weather (Red Fuji), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, ca. 1830–1832. Color woodcut. Gift of Miss Carlotta Mabury. 54755.456

Word Gallery: Aerial Perspective

Throughout art history, scholars have devised a special vocabulary to talk about art. These terms are very useful, but they are not always self-explanatory. So we thought we'd explore the art historical word gallery to provide you with some definitions commonly used to describe artistic styles, techniques or movements in art.

Aerial perspective

Jan Brueghel the Elder (Brussels 1568–1625 Antwerp). Village Scene with a Canal, 1609. Oil on copper. The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection. Image courtesy Peabody Essex Museum.

Ancient Art Teachers Institute at the Legion of Honor

The Fine Arts Museums’ collection of antiquities has played a central role in the development of both the de Young and the Legion of Honor. This summer, we offered a teacher institute for sixth grade teachers to enrich their schools by using our ancient art collections in their curricula. This program, presented in partnership with the UC Berkeley History–Social Studies Project (UCBH-SSP), gave teachers the tools to teach students how to think like historians.

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