Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site

I'd seen the signs for years. Last week I took a short detour and visited.

On a perfectly beautiful early spring day, I learned that my timing was unfortunate.

Or perhaps not. I had not come to look at Saint-Gaudens' art. The sculptor was one of the most famous and admired late 19th century U.S. artists -- and his heroic, neo-classical creations don't fare well when held up against a 21st century aesthetic consciousness. That is, they look sort of silly.

Whether Saint-Gaudens was memorializing Civil War Admiral David Farragut ...

or decorating his studio with this pseudo-Greek frieze ...

or placing this painted bronze piper (the god Pan?) in a formal garden, the sculptor's sense of the strong and beautiful eludes me.

But the spring day was lovely. Fields still holding their winter covering sat alongside barren patches where the snow had melted, revealing the leavings of herds of deer.

I saw not another human on the property.

Saint-Gaudens' house, "Aspet," is not particularly prepossessing.

But on this spring day, a crisp light made everything on this site look its very best.

1 comment:

Kay Dennison said...

A trip like this is just my cuppa! My kids joked that my car was programmed to pull into anything labelled 'historic site' or 'museum' irregardless of what either commemorates. That's not quite true -- I would never go to anything that said 'Nixon' or 'Bush'. The St. Gauden home looks like it would be a great place for another of my penchants -- picnics!!!

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