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San Diego’s Most

Treasured Collection

The Hands of Dr. Moore, 1940 Diego Rivera 18" x 22"

This painting has important ties to San Diego. The Spanish inscription at the bottom of the painting reads: “These are the hands of Dr. Clarence Moore of Los Angeles, California. They trim the tree of life so that it is renewed and does not die.” Dr. Moore, although based out of LA, married the daughter of the prominent Spreckles family of San Diego. He spent much of his time travel- ing back and forth from city to city. Because of this, Dr. Moore’s widow endowed the painting to SDMA when she died. The painting itself is a non- traditional portrait that focuses on the meticulous work of Doctor Moore’s hands, instead of his face. It is a close up view depicting the careful incision into what resembles both the tree of life and a woman’s body. Captivating and somewhat dis- turbing, this anthropomorphic image represents a wonderful glimpse into Rivera’s work as well as into Mexican Modernism. This is a painting that stimulates emotion and should not be missed!

With an ever-expanding permanent collection and constant rotation of new exhibitions, it is almost impossible to run out of reasons to visit the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) in Bal- boa Park. Choosing which pieces to view first can be very tricky, especially if you’re on a tight schedule. Not to worry though! We have spoken to one of the museum’s top curators, who has provided us with a list of TOP 5 treasured masterpieces. These are must-see pieces that will lead you through the museum and its various galleries. Soak up the historical artwork, enjoy a wealth of culture and avoid becoming overwhelmed all at the same time!

Portrait of a Man, 1506

Giorgione (Giorgio da Castelfranco) 11.875" x 10.125"

Considered to be one of the greatest Renaissance portraits housed in the United States, Giorgione’s Portrait of a Man has also been called “San Diego’s Mona Lisa.” The similari- ties between the two pieces are unmistak- able. In fact, Leon- ardo Da Vinci trav- eled through Venice in the early 1500s when Giorgione was first starting out. The

young painter understood Da Vinci’s vi- sion and was inspired by his work. Gior- gione took this influence and began painting in the modern manner, taking great care to create hair that looked like hair and skin that looked like skin. It is this particular skill combined with an element of mystery that makes his Portrait of a Man so important. Notice the ambiguous expression and how the unknown man confronts the viewer, even while looking through them. Such commitment to detail and undeniable intrigue is what separates good art from great art. Giorgione was a true master. He lived long ago but his work still rings true and continues to be appreciated to this day!


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