Sunday, September 21, 2008

Brandywine River Museum

N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth's paintings figure prominently in the galleries at the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, PA.

Photos of the artwork are not permitted, however I was allowed to photograph this elaborately carved coat of arms which originally adorned the pediment of the Dauphin County Court House in Harrisburg—Pennsylvania's capital city.

The carving, created in 1861 by E. Omensetter, was constructed with four horizontal pine boards used as a backing for the pine relief carvings that were attached with nails. Originally painted, the coat of arm's colors were worn away by weather and age.

The state's motto, "Virtue, Liberty, and Independence," is deeply carved into the banner, and the other design elements are also representative of Pennsylvania. The ship symbolizes the state's ports and vast commercial network; the American eagle is the traditional symbol of liberty; the horses protect and honor the motto; the plow represents coal and mineral resources; and the wheat and corn depict Pennsylvania's agriculture.

I love the chunky gouge marks and stylized eagle and horses. The beefiness, the deep shadows, and the folksiness of the design seem to accurately portray PA, which is replete with farmland and steeped in history.

While I enjoyed the Wyeths' and other artists' paintings, I found myself lingering in front of this piece longer than any other.

9 comments:

Vic Hubbard said...
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Vic Hubbard said...

So, is something like this your next project, after the Celtic cross?

Pretty Cool!!!

Woodfired! said...

Very nice piece indeed. A clean design and as you say the deep relief creates superb shadows. I like the way the horses and eagle extend beyond the backing piece.

I love the bench underneath the coats of arms!

Geemoney said...

Okay, I'll bite, since no one else has yet...

Did you happen to meet Merry and Pip there?

At any rate, I have to agree with you. For all of the elegant elements which are present in the piece, it does exude a large, chunky, presence, even in pictures. This is the size, actually, that I envisioned for your Celtic cross.

Thanks for the post.

The Village Carpenter said...

I would like to see the size of the carving chisels and gouges used to create this piece.

I liked the bench, too! : )

Geemoney, I'll bite. Who are Pip and Merry?

Woodfired! said...

They are two hobbits. I was just able to resist asking the same question.

The Brandywine is the name of a river in the Shire in Lord of the Rings. Pip (Peregrin Took) and Merry (Meriadoc Brandybuck) are the two hobbits that accompany Frodo and Sam on their great journey.

Shannon said...

This is one of my favorite museums. I have lost track how many times I have been here and gotten lost amongst the paintings. This carving has caught my attention several times too, but I haven't been up there again since I tried carving myself. I can't wait to visit again with a new eye for carving. Great place to visit at Christmas time too as they always have something special (and flower pot bread in the cafe!)

Dan said...

Okay, way of topic, but do they still have the giant painting of the pig? I always liked that one, even though it kind of creeped me out a litte as a kid...

The Village Carpenter said...

Dan, they do still have the [creepy] giant pig painting and they have the bronze pig statue in the garden.