If you have children, the answer to “Do you attend museums often?” is probably no. At the end of the day, the admission fees to enter such establishments are very expensive, the cost of an infant being as high as $15 dollars! OUCH . That hurts my soul and pockets in ways I cannot afford to describe. I do not have that kind of cash just laying around so when I stumbled upon the Rodin Sculpture Garden and The Cantor Arts Center, I could not resist a visit!
First and foremost, lets talk about how GORGEOUS Stanford University grounds are to begin with. The amount of greenery, lush trees, stained glass, artwork and sculptures combined make it a whimsical experience I could indulge in on a monthly basis.
The Rodin Sculpture Garden is located not far from The Cantor Arts Center, a completely free museum for all! For more information, follow this link. Now at the time I did NOT realize that that the museum was open to the public, but we didn’t arrive until after 5 pm when it closes so no harm no foul I suppose! As for the focused artist of the exhibit, Auguste Rodin was a renowned French sculptor who was most recognized for making figurative sculpture modern by redefining the expressive capacity of the human form. I am sure you have heard of The Thinker, which is one of his most recognizable sculptures.
Since we arrived after The Cantor Arts Center was closed we only got to observe the gardens and upon entering, I was awestruck. The sheer beauty of all the bronze human shaped figures that adorned the entire gardens left me speechless. I gazed and gawked while taking photos for about 30 minutes or so until I reached the famed work The Gates of Hell.
This particular piece was a main focal point of Rodin’s career, as it was supposed to be a portal for Paris’ Museum of Decorative Arts, which was never built. The entire piece contains 186 figures in its final form, many of which were Rodin’s best known sculptures (The Thinker and The Kiss to name a few). The amount of detail and craftsmanship he put into this particular piece is truly inspiring. To think of the amount of time, passion and commitment to complete such a feat is inspiring to say the least.
Once we were finished with the Gardens, we ventured onward towards the entrance of Stanford. There we were met with a HUGE Roman themed structure called The Memorial Church which sits smack dab in the middle of campus. We came during Labor Day and were unable to do a tour of the inside but were enchanted nonetheless.
The front of the building is adorned with angels gilded in gold depicting messages of love, hope, faith and charity. Venture towards the back of the Church to see its walls lined with spiritually themed stained glass in an array of colors that are truly captivating.
Most of all, knowing this place of devotion was built with intentions of accepting all faiths and not just one denomination is a beauty in itself. What an amazing concept to create such a safe haven where everyone can feel accepted and appreciated.
We lastly stumbled upon The Gay Liberation monument, a bronze sculpture covered in white lacquer. Created by artist George Segal, the two women and two men depicted are a dedication to LGBT rights, commemorating the Stonewall riots of the late 1960’s.
Living in the liberal Bay Area affords a place where this statue can resonate with those who still fight to live a life of their choosing and is a teachable moment about human rights to all.
The arts are such an important aspect in life that most people cannot afford to partake in. My family lives on a budget, but Stanford University provided a night of wonder for my entire family that didn’t cost and provided so much to gain! There is artwork, sculptures and so much more all over campus that we didn’t have the time to see half of it. Click here to look at the map in its entirety and plan a trip accordingly! The evening stroll through campus was an enchanting find and I encourage you to come visit.