Monday, February 23, 2009

Finnegan's free fun: art and picnics at Stanford

He was the Johnny Depp of his day: a brooding artistic genius, a rebel, and a roaring success. The 19th-Century French artist Auguste Rodin is today best known for his iconic sculptures like The Thinker and the Burghers of Calais. And he did so many more. You can see hundreds of his works, free, at the Cantor Arts Center on Palo Alto's Stanford University campus.

You needn't be a major art buff to enjoy these works: they're so human and lifelike (the artist was initially accused of creating not art, but mere castings of the bodies of his models). Even kids get Rodin.

You can stroll a lovely, open Rodin Sculpture Garden, filled with life-sized (and larger) Rodin bronzes like
Adam and Eve and The Gates of Hell. Or go inside the museum and see some 90 more works, recently brought out of storage and put on display, including a cast of The Thinker.

It's the largest collection of Rodin works in the world, outside of France. And for kids, a visit is like a living (and fun) class in art history. Bring a picnic lunch, there are plenty of tables at grassy spots around campus.

Details: Rodin: the Complete Stanford Collection; Cantor Arts Center, Museum Way and Palm Drive, Stanford University. Call 650/723-4177 or click here.

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COPYRIGHT Lora Finnegan 2008-2009

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