Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Virtual Tour
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is on Museum Row, LA, and it is the largest art museum in the western United States.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art holds more than 150,000 works of art spanning the history of art from ancient times to the present.
A Virtual Tour of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- “The Raising of Lazarus” by Rembrandt
- “Magdalene with the Smoking Flame” by Georges de La Tour
- Shiva as the Lord of Dance
- “Cliff Dwellers” by George Bellows
- “Plato” by Jusepe de Ribera
- Bark Painting – Arnhem Land, Australia
Highlights of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
“The Raising of Lazarus” by Rembrandt, depicts the scene from the New Testament Bible. For the creation of this composition, Rembrandt experimented with drawings and etchings on this subject with differing configurations.
This scene is in a tomb with Christ standing in the cave with his hand raised to perform the miracle. Rembrandt represents Lazarus’s rising as caused by Christ’s forceful gesture and his faith. Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha look on in amazement, as do the other spectators.
The astounded witnesses’ expressions record successive states of awareness and awe. The dramatic darkness of the cave is in contrast to the subtle colors in the costumes.
The glinting highlights of the quiver and scabbard hanging on the wall were Lazarus’ weapons, as according to medieval legend, Lazarus was a soldier.
“Magdalene with the Smoking Flame” by Georges de La Tour depicts Mary Magdalene and was inspired by several themes popular with artists during the 1600s, such as the cult of Magdalene, melancholy and repentance.
De La Tour, the French Baroque painter who painted this masterpiece in 1640, has given it a feeling of philosophical meditation that provides the opportunity for meditation and reflection.
Mary Magdalene’s body is enveloped in mysterious darkness, and her face brightened only by the candle. On her knees is a skull, and on the table are some books and a lit candle wick floating in a glass of oil.
There is also a wooden cross and a blood-stained scourge. The skull represents a play on words, representing Golgotha, the place of Christ’s crucifixion, as well as the Aramaic word for skull.
The objects in this painting symbolize and reference the themes of the repentance and the trials sent by God.
“Shiva as the Lord of Dance” depicts the Hindu God Shiva and combines in a single image his roles as creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe and conveys the concept of the never-ending cycle of time.
Shiva has many guises and many representations in art, but the most popular is as a dancing figure within the arch of flames, called Shiva Nataraja, Lord of the Dance.
Nataraja is a depiction of the Hindu god Shiva as the cosmic ecstatic dancer. The pose and artwork are described in many Hindu texts, and the dance relief is featured in major Hindu temples of Shaivism.
It is an image seen in museums and temples across the world, and it is rich in iconography and hidden meaning.
The French sculptor Auguste Rodin wrote that the sculpture of Shiva as the Lord of Dance has: “what many people cannot see—the unknown depths, the core of life. There is grace in elegance, but beyond grace, there is perfection.”
“Cliff Dwellers” by George Bellows depicts the density and crowds on New York City’s Lower East Side, on a hot summer’s day. The painting, made in 1913, highlights the city’s explosive population growth.
The city grew from one-and-a-half to five million in the forty years proceedings this depiction, primarily due to immigration. In this painting, people spill out of tenement buildings onto the streets, stoops, and fire escapes.
Laundry flaps overhead and a street vendor hawks his goods from his pushcart amid all the traffic. In the background, a trolley car heads toward Vesey Street.
Many of the new arrivals, Italian, Jewish, Irish, and Chinese, crowded into tenement houses on the Lower East Side. Among them were thousands of Eastern European Jews, who found temporary or permanent shelter along streets such as East Broadway, the setting for Cliff Dwellers.
Cliff Dwellers skillfully conveys the sense of congestion, overpopulation, and the impact of the city on its inhabitants. The living quarters of many of the Cliff Dwellers were small, dense, and dark, which is illustrated in this composition.
The painting also shows how industrialization had impacted the working-class lifestyle at that time.
“Plato” by Jusepe de Ribera is shown looking to the heavens and towards the light to symbolize his significant influence on Saint Augustine and, as a consequence, Christianity.
Plato advocated a belief in the immortality of the soul, and several of his famous dialogues end with long speeches imagining the afterlife.
The asceticism depicted in this composition was in keeping with Spanish Catholicism and is distinctive of the saints and philosophers that Ribera painted. Plato is portrayed with deep creases in his worn face, but with sturdy hands that hold what he treasures.
Plato is portrayed wearing ragged robes to symbolize the “beggar philosopher,” a popular rhetorical device in the seventeenth century. Plato is shown surrounded by a light reminiscent of Caravaggio.
This painting is part of a series of six portraits of ancient philosophers commissioned by various wealthy and powerful sponsors.
The earliest surviving bark paintings date from the nineteenth century. The modern form of bark paintings first appeared in the 1930s, when missionaries at Yirrkala and Milingimbi asked the local Yolngu people to produce bark paintings that could be sold in the major cities of Australia.
The missionaries were interested in earning funds that would help pay for the mission, and also to educate white Australians about Aboriginal culture.
As the trade grew, and the demand for paintings increased, leading artists started being asked to mount exhibitions.
It was not until the 1980s that bark paintings started being regarded as fine art, as opposed to Indigenous handicrafts.
Today fine bark paintings are valued on the skill and fame of the artist and the quality of the art. The degree to which the artwork encapsulates the culture by telling a traditional story can command high prices in the art market.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- Name: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
- City: Los Angeles
- Country: United States
- Established: 1910
- Type: Art Museum
- Location: 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Museum of Art – 360 View
Los Angeles County Museum of Art Map
Los Angeles County Museum of Art – 360 View
Explore American Museums
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art or MET
- Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
- Intrepid, Sea, Air & Space Museum
- Neue Galerie New York
- The Cloisters
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
- American Museum of Natural History
- Museum of the City of New York
- New-York Historical Society
- Frick Collection
- Met Breuer
- Rubin Museum of Art
- Brooklyn Museum
- National Gallery of Art
- National Museum of American History
- National Air and Space Museum
- National Museum of African American History and Culture
- National Museum of Natural History
- National Portrait Gallery
- Smithsonian American Art Museum
- The Phillips Collection
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
- International Spy Museum
LACMA | Los Angeles County Museum of Art: A collection of 278 artworks
LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Artists on Art – LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art
“Well done is better than well said.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Photo Credit: Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons