Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Today was free admission to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art! It’s located on upper State Street, downtown. It’s a beautiful museum and building.

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The current exhibit is focused on the Asian sub-continent, specifically Indian religious history. I’m lazy so I’ll just post the text I captured with my phone below.

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You’re not supposed to take photos, as is the case in any museum, but of course, I snapped a few of the ones I found interesting.

The piece below is a wooden architectural column with 4 gaurdian deities (so said the plaque). It was pretty cool, with amazing hand carved detail.

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My favorite exhibit was the wooden scupture below. It was beautiful.

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In the permanent collection section, the museum has a number of broad art exhibits, ranging from Renaissance period French paintings, a few Van Gogh’s, American art and photography, including black and whites from Ansel Adams, some ancient Chinese artifacts and sculptures, a Japanese wooden sculpture, even some Polish art! It’s a fairly diversified collection of modern and classical art and artifacts.

I’m not an art snob. In fact, I’m a complete idiot about art. I just know when I see something I like. But occasionally, I enjoyed perusing art museums when I travel somewhere.

Of course, the French paintings can’t rival the Louvre Museum in Paris. I spent an entire day there and barely saw a fraction of the exhibits. ┬áI intently stared Mona Lisa in the eyes for 15 minutes in a game of blink, as it hung bare, inches from my nose. I blinked first. I’ve also been to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam which was nice, the biggest collection of Van Gogh art I’m pretty sure.

In Taipei, Taiwan, I spent a day in the National Palace Museum. It is enormous! It has a permanent collection of nearly 700,000 art pieces and artificacts and countless more in storage. It is probably the best Chinese museum in the world, even in mainland China. Most of the artifacts are kept in storage. There is so much that even if they changed the exhibits every months, it would probably take years to see everything.

The National Palace Museum is a political point of contention between China and the island country of Taiwan. Many decades ago when the communist revolution siezed power in China, the aristocracy, scholars and elites all fled the Chinese mainland by boat, fleeing to the island of Taiwan. When they left, they took millions of Chinese treasures with them. Many of these historical treasures are now part of the National Palace Museum.

And of course, I’ve been to a number of the Smithsonian museum buildings in Washington D.C.. Supposedly, the Smithsonian is the largest museum complex in the world, covering 137 million pieces chronicling the entire range of our brief American history.

But the one museum I definitely still want to see is in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is one of the largest in the world. I think traditional Russian architecture and history is fascinating. It’s so different than western history and culture. I’ve heard that the State Hermitage Museum is so large that you could spend 10 years year inside and even if you only briefly looked at each exhibit in passing, you would still not have nearly enough time to see everything!

Well, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art doesn’t rival these forementioned musuem wonders of the world, but it’s beautiful, interesting, and cozy.