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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Honolulu Museum of Art

Honolulu Museum of Art from Thomas Square

Honolulu Museum of Art

The Honolulu Museum of Art is the largest Art Museum in Hawaii and has one of the largest collections of Asian and Pan-Pacific art in the United States. Its collections have grown to more than 50,000 works of art.

Highlights of the Honolulu Museum of Art

  • Prayers at Sunset, Udaipur, India by Charles W. Bartlett
    • “Prayers at Sunset, Udaipur, India” by Charles W. Bartlett depicts the Maghrib prayer in Udaipur in India. The Maghrib prayer or the “West [sun] prayer” is prayed just after sunset and is the fourth of five formal daily prayers performed by practicing Muslims. This scene beautifully portrays Udaipur, which is also known as the “City of Lakes” or the “Venice of the East.” It is a major city of the Udaipur district in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
  • “Miono-Matsubara” by Charles W Bartlett
    • “Miono-Matsubara” by Charles W Bartlett depicts Miho no Matsubara, which was renowned as a seashore with beautiful green pine trees and sand spanning over seven kilometers. It has scenic views of Mount Fuji and the Izu Peninsula across Suruga Bay. It has an old pine tree dating back 650 years. Bartlett was one of the very first Western artists to publish his works in the Japanese woodblock print form, which led to the rejuvenation of this genre and the Shin-Hanga movement in western art circles.
  • “Female Figure” from the Cyclades: Greek Island Group in the Aegean Sea
    • This “Female Figurine” is from a Bronze Age cemetery in the Cyclades, a group of islands in the Aegean Sea located east of the mainland of Greece. It is a late example of figures called the Spedos Variety, named after an ancient cemetery site on the Cycladic island of Naxos. This example is unusual in its large size, however consistent in the style which consists of a lyre-shaped head and a torso that is relatively flat except for the nose and the modeling and incised lines delineating the various limbs and critical elements of the body. This example retains hints of pigment in the face with red dots across both cheeks, the nose, and the forehead. The pigment is cinnabar, a bright red mineral, which was very precious at the time as it was imported from outside the Aegean.
  • Sarcophagus Relief Depicting Labors of Hercules
    • This “Sarcophagus Relief depicting the Labors of Hercules” was a popular image on Roman sarcophagi, as the wealthy deceased paid homage to a Greco-Roman hero and god who was celebrated for his enormous strength. Representations of Hercules twelve labors, as related by ancient legends, were sculptured on all sides of a sarcophagus of the period. Hercules was a Roman hero and god, adapted from the Greek divine hero Heracles, who was the son of Zeus, the Roman equivalent Jupiter. In classical mythology, Hercules is famous for his strength and his deeds, which took him to the far reaches of the Greco-Roman world and became known as the “Twelve Labours” of Hercules.
  • Male Torso of the Hermes Richelieu Type
    • This “Male Torso” is thought to belong to the “Hermes Richelieu” type because of its similarity to a statue of Hermes in the Richelieu wing of the Louvre. Hermes is an Olympian god in Greek religion and mythology, the son of Zeus. In the Roman adaptation of the Greek pantheon, Hermes is identified with the Roman god Mercury and developed many similar associations and subtle differences. This sculpture was created around the mid-second century B.C. in Rome and combined the idealized body of a Greek styled god with the naturalistic portrait head of a wealthy Roman citizen.
  • “The Bath: Woman Sponging Her Back” by Edgar Degas
    • “The Bath: Woman Sponging Her Back” by Edgar Degas depicts a female bather as she bends forward in her tub and sponges her back. This pastel drawing is part of a series of drawings, preliminary sketches in pastels and oils by Degas from this period that depict women bathing. Degas often used sketches as a preliminary step to study the light and the composition for his paintings. This work is part of a series of preliminary sketches in pastels which depict women bathing, some showing women in awkward, unnatural positions. Degas, said, he intended to create a feeling in the viewer: “as if you looked through a keyhole.”
  • “Water Lilies” by Claude Monet
    • In “Water Lilies,” Claude Monet depicts his water-lily pond, from his garden in Giverny. Monet captured the continually changing qualities of light, color, water, sky, and lilies by dissolving all the elements in what he expressed as: “the refuge of peaceful meditation in the center of a flowering aquarium.” Claude Monet painted nearly 250 paintings in his series of “Water Lilies.” The paintings depict Monet’s flower garden at his home, which was the primary focus of Monet’s artistic endeavors during the last thirty years of his life. Monet painted many of his later works while suffering from cataracts.
  • “Seated Nude” by Amedeo Modigliani
    • “Seated Nude” by Amedeo Modigliani is one of the dozens of nudes created by Modigliani in a modern style characterized by elongation of faces and figures that echo precursors such as Titian, Goya, and Velázquez. However, Modigliani’s figures differ significantly in the level of raw sensuality they transmit. Unlike depictions of female nudes from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century, where female nudity is couched in mythology or allegory, this series of paintings are without any such context, highlighting the painting’s eroticism. In this painting, the woman’s elongated face and highly simplified features derive Modigliani’s study of Egyptian, African, and Oceanic sculpture.

A Tour of the Honolulu Museum of Art

Honolulu Museum of Art

  • Name:                  Honolulu Museum of Art
  • Former Name:   Honolulu Academy of Arts
  • City:                      Honolulu
  • Established:        1922
  • Type:                    Art Museum
  • Collection size    250,000 objects
  • Location:             900 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, Hawaii

A Tour of the Top Museums in the USA

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“Dare to dance, leave shame at home.”
– Hawaiian Proverb

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Photo Credit: By Wmpearl (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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