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.