Thursday, November 20, 2008

Field Trip: Stanford

We recently spent the month in Palo Alto, while Shane did an away rotation at Stanford. I was excited to check out the campus; I really expected Palo Alto to be an extension of the East Coast.  Before I came to New Haven, I just assumed that Stanford was an Ivy League school, especially since I didn't know that the Ivy League was a college sports division.  You know, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, right?  Wrong!  Stanford is in California, and carries its western heritage with it in the most remarkable way.  The entire campus is built in the Mission Style, brought from the Spanish missionaries to California all those years ago.  The campus is free from all street traffic, with long arcades, quiet, contemplative students walking about, and the pipe organ's song  floating through the church windows. This seemed to be a perfectly cloistered environment, like a modern-day monastery.  I, being one who gets slightly obsessed with nuns and monks, was totally loving Stanford's monastic-feeling campus.  Here are some pics:

definitely not in New England anymore...

I loved many windows on campus, but I thought that this is a window someone could actually incorporate into a real house. Just keeping this picture in my back pocket, in case I could use it someday. And do you see the lights inside? perfect for those Stanford book worms.

I was also delighted to see the Rodin sculpture garden on campus. Well, as delighted as one can be when viewing The Gates of Hell.  It was cool to see, let's just say that. I wonder if Rodin would have felt so tormented if he lived here in sunny California.  Maybe he would have just settled with The Gates of Feeling Less Happy than Usual.  Anyway, this is the largest Rodin collection outside of Paris and had the entire Gates of Hell structure for our viewing pleasure.  This project was intended to be the doors to a museum that, in the end, were never built, so the project remains an orphan of sorts, not being used as it was intended. However, many of Rodin's most famous works are actually larger casts of smaller figures from the gates.  For instance, does anyone recognize the ponderous man just about the door?

"Hmmmm...let me think about that."
Here it is.  Adam and Eve flank the sides.

Here are a few sculptural studies on display.  Pete's trying to recreate the pose.
larger view of the garden.  I like those cool cypress trees.
Here you can get a sense for the full use of three dimensions in the gates.
Pete, feeling a little overdressed with the Three Shades.

There were also sculptures from the The Burghers of Callais sculptural program, including this giant head.  When I asked Pete how the head was feeling, he said he looked "worried."  Indeed.  

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