Ann and I dropped by the DeYoung Museum to see their exhibition: Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland. In one way it was like strolling through any major museum -- a Titian, a Velazquez, a Vermeer, a Monet, etc. -- but I had never seen these examples, having never visited the National Galleries of Scotland. Also, there was a strong presence of Scottish painters I had not seen. My favorite discovery: Francis Cadell, portrait painter of the early 20th Century.
As you can see from my neckwear, I am a fan of audio tours. The best of them help me see things I would miss unless I looked at the picture for a long time. PRO TIP: ask the staff for the numbers to punch in for the children's tour. They are more fun and helpful than the grown-up version. Children don't have to listen to descriptions of a a picture of three young women embroidering as "exquisitely feminine;" nor a portrait of the artist's wife as "incredibly intimate;" nor the tartan worn in a nobleman's portrait as "highly symbolic." When they start laying on the adverbs, you know they haven't decided what they want to say.
MINOR COMPLAINT: the audio tour was given by someone with a British accent. I so wanted to hear the name "Braque" spoken with a Scottish brogue.
Thank you Scotland! What a great country! You sent us John Muir and you loaned us your masterpieces.
I was taking a walk in a nearby neighborhood called Cow Hollow when I looked up and saw I was not the only one cruisin' the 'hood. "That sucker is BIG," I said to myself. After that moment of eloquence, I fished out my phone and got the snap.
When I checked my phone to make sure I had the pic, I had a revelation: art history just happened here. I thought back to all those late-medieval and early-renaissance landscapes which always made me think they didn't quite get the perspective correct (isn't liberal arts education wonderful?). It now occurs to me the world just looks odd when one is standing on the side of a steep hill looking at a scene where things far away are a lot bigger than things closer so they look closer than they are. Behind the cruise ship is Angel Island, which honestly is not that big.
So, is this like that problem where the moon coming over the horizon looks big and then seems to get smaller as it appears overhead. I've heard explanations of that, but have not been convinced so far.