Visited San Francisco’s Legion of Honor (185/366)

“Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.”
~ G.K. Chesterson

The California Palace of the Legion of Honor is a three-quarter-scaled adaption of the 18th-century Parisian original, the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris, one of the distinguished 18th-century landmarks on the left bank of the Seine.  It was a gift to the city of San Francisco from Alma and Adolph B. Spreckels, and it holds a multitude of remarkable pieces of art, many of which were from Alma’s personal collection.

Although I’d passed this place several times growing up, and I know it’s a popular venue for special events and wedding photos, I’d never actually visited the Legion of Honor.

When you first enter the courtyard of the Legion of Honor, you are greeted by Rodin‘s “The Thinker” sculpture.  The courtyard itself is just breathtaking as well.

Inside, there are over 20 galleries filled with different kinds of art – from paintings to stone sculptures and metal castings, to an Egyptian sarcophagus and even ceramics from around the world.

The details in some of the sculptures make you forget these were made by hand.  Absolutely phenomenal.  Here’s an example of marble:

And one of clay:

More stone and clay – I was really fascinated by all the sculptures.

And the metal work!

But it wasn’t just sculpture, as I said before – there were also pieces of furniture, like this desk – the craftsmanship in this design was absolutely beautiful.

There were of course, also halls and halls of remarkable paintings.

They had some of Monet’s Water Lilies:

And even Keanu was there!  Okay, I kid, but isn’t that kind of an uncanny resemblance?

The Legion of Honor really is literally a treasure trove of art, and the building and grounds are just as beautiful as the pieces inside.  There are countless more amazing works there – far too many to post here (although I do have several hundred photos!).  After our cross country trip last year and all the famous museums we visited, I was very proud and happy to find out that our own Legion of Honor is a hidden jewel itself.  If you get the chance, you need to come see for yourself.  Plan to spend a whole day here – there is so much to see, you really can – they even have a lovely cafe if you want to have lunch here, or nice places to sit if you want to bring your own.  But you really must check it out!

Related Links:
The SF Legion of Honor

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