|Home -> Other California History Books -> Palaces and Courts of the Exposition -> Palace of Fine Arts|
The Palace of Fine Arts
Architect - Bernard R. Maybeck of San Francisco.
Architecture - Old Roman in the main, with Italian Renaissance features. In the background is the fire-proof art gallery of 113 rooms.
In front is a pergola, extending along an arc 1100 feet from end to end. Ochre columns are closely grouped with pale green ones.
The Roman Corinthian capitals are burnt orange with an Indian-red ground.
The columns sweep forward on either side the rotunda, in the dome of which are Robt. Reid's eight murals.
1st Panel - Birth of European Art.
The central point of the picture is the altar on which is seen the sacred fire. The guardian of this altar holds the torch. She has three attendants, one holding a flask of oil, one pouring oil upon the altar and ready to apply the torch should the flame grow dim, a third one carefully watching the flame. An earthly messenger, holding back his rearing steeds, leans from his chariot to receive the torch of inspiration. A winged attendant checks for an instant the flight of these steeds. In the left corner a woman holds a crystal ball in which the future of art is revealed.
2nd Panel - The Birth of Oriental Art.
The forces of earth try to wrest inspiration from the powers of the air. This is shown in an ancient Ming legend.
We see a Chinese warrior, mounted on a writhing dragon, combating an eagle. Japan is seen under the great umbrella. Two more Oriental figures are seen.
3rd Panel - Ideals in Art.
Greek ideal in the classic nude is seen.
Religion - Madonna and Child.
Heroism - Joan of Arc.
Youth and Material Beauty - Young woman on the left.
Absolute nature without ideal or inspiration - peacock.
Mystic figure in background holds cruse of oil to pour onto the sacred flame.
A winged figure floats above with laurels for the victorious living.
A shadowy figure in foreground holds the palm for the dead.
Panel 4 - Inspiration in All Art -
Music, Painting, Architecture, Poetry, Sculpture.
The torch that kindles the arts is again seen.
The veil of darkness is drawn back, revealing the arts.
There are also four panels showing the four golds of California -
"The whole scheme is to show the conception and birth of art, its translation to earth, its progress and acceptance by man."
Below these murals, on the octagonal drum, is The Priestess of Culture, by Herbert Adams, eight times repeated.
This outline has been taken from the official report.
The dome of the Rotunda is burnt orange, with the guilloche below it worked out in turquoise green. Notice the great flower receptacles filled with the reddish cryptomeria of Japan.
In front of the Rotunda is Ralph Stackpole's Kneeling Figure. She is a devotee to art, beauty, truth, and kneels at the altar.
Among the trees along the pergola are many statues in bronze and marble.
Don't fail to see Janet Scudder's bewitching fountain figures as you walk past the Pergola.
At the south, near the Pool, among the trees, sits St. Gauden's fine "Lincoln."
Opposite is J. Q. A. Ward's statute of "Henry Ward Beecher."
Around the corner, "The Bisons," by Proctor.
Follow along by the Pool and you meet "The Scout," by Cyrus Dallin.
No words can describe the great poetic beauty of this Fine Arts Palace. It seems to be the pivotal part of the Exposition, the goal of all pilgrimages, the altar on which you place your ideals. It has so many moods that one must see it in all seasons, during all times of the day, and especially under the illuminations.
The figure of "Aspiration," by Leo Lentelli, is suspended - as is all aspiration - over the main entrance of the Fine Arts Palace.
Walk over to Administration Avenue so that you can look across the Pool at the panels.
They are by Bruno Zimm of New York.
They represent the Arts and a long procession of devotees.
In the center of one panel, called "The Unattainable in Art," one sees Art represented. On either side is the battle between the idealists, the materialists and the artists.
Many idealists have fallen, but the centaurs, the materialists, seem to be held back by the artists who are striving to reach Art herself.
We are all striving to reach the so-called unattainable, but it means the battle with materialism before we can do it. Yonder stand beauty, health, truth - the flowers of the spirit - but we must pass the centaur to make that figure of Truth attainable.
Then comes the Apollo Panel, and Apollo, the leader of the arts, in his chariot, seems to be in a long procession preceded and followed by devotees of the fine arts.
Next comes the Pegasus Panel, indicating inspiration in the arts. Ahead, marches Music with his lyre, who, like a sort of Orpheus, is stilling even the beasts.
The figures between the panels represent those who stand ready to do battle for the arts.
Ulric H. Ellerhusen has done the flower boxes, with women at the corners. Vines were to have fallen over the figures from the boxes, allowing only a shoulder, a head, or a long line of the drapery to appear, but the plans had to be changed, hence the figure now in full evidence. The women are looking into the flower-laden boxes.
As you stand by the Pool, notice the shrubs and flowers near by.
Near the columns are Monterey cypresses.
Grey-green artemisia is between the columns.
Ten thousand periwinkles are on the banks.
Five thousand Spanish iris.
Many Japanese iris.
California incense shrub.
One thousand white callas.
One thousand yellow callas.
One thousand California violets.
The shiny-leaved coprosma from Chili.
Groups of pittosporum.
Pampas grass from Brazil.
Hundreds of daffodils (in March).
The weeping willows.
A great group on the north of erica, epacris, and cryptomeria.
Across from the erica is the red-berried cotoneaster horizontalis.
Near the columns on the north side by the Pool grows the purple agapanthus.
The Catalina cherry is massed against the building on the north.
The pink-flowered escallonia is found under the columns near the Pool. The orange-berried pyracantha cretaegus is seen in all its glory on the north.
Heliotrope makes the air one of sweet perfume. Polygala, with pea-like blossom, is seen near the base of the columns.
In the Pool have been put five hundred papyrus plants and five hundred Japanese water lilies.
These are a few of the many wonderful blooms seen here.
The vistas and reflections are ever new and beautiful from every turn of the Pool.