What sort of name is “Legion of Honor”?

Rodin's <i>The Prodigal Son</i>
Rodin's The Prodigal Son

Yesterday I went to the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco. It was free on the first Tuesday of the month. Thus, I didn’t feel obliged to “make the most of” my visit and stroll around for hours staring at paintings, desperate to figure out why people find that activity appealing. Instead, I saw what I went there to see, the cast of Rodin’s The Thinker, followed my bliss to look at the rest of their extensive Rodin collection, and then left. I had a blast.

I decided I like Rodin’s work a lot. Something about sculpture grabs me more than other forms of fine art, and Rodin’s pieces are full of dark, tragic emotion that appeals to me. Also, I can see why the Burghers of Calais are among his most highly regard work. They are so detailed (they’re about a foot tall) and imbued with these expressions of despair which are extraordinarily realistic and emotive. I think my favorite of the less famous sculptures was The Prodigal Son. The emotion is so vivid; you can just imagine him screaming to the heavens. I also liked The Mighty Hand, because I recognized it as a minor inspiration for Nicole’s senior show.

It’s great identifying something you really like (Rodin) from within a field of things you generally don’t like (art in museums). I wish upon you similar experiences.

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