San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 6

San Diego Historical Landmarks

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 1

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 2

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 4

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 5

El Prado Area Designation

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Continuing from west to east on El Prado, next up after the Old Globe are two gardens, the Sculpture Garden on the north side of El Prado, and Alcazar Gardens on the south side. The Sculpture Garden also features the Sculpture Court Cafe, a relaxing place to have a snack or drink. Both the Garden and the Court Cafe are part of the San Diego Museum of Art which has its main building just a few feet across the parking lot.

Sculpture Garden and Sculpture Court Cafe:

Sculpture Garden

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Sculpture Court Cafe in Balboa Park

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San Diego Museum of Art in San Diego's Balboa Park

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The main building of the San Diego Museum of Art opened on February 28, 1926, as the Palace of Fine Arts:

San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Designed by famed San Diego architect William Templeton Johnson, its ornamentation belongs to the Plateresque period of the Spanish Renaissance.

The upper arch of the doorway is a shell, “designed to honor the memory of St. James, whose body, according to legend, was deposited by the sea on the shores of Spain.” The St. James in question apparently is James, son of Zebedee, and one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Read more about St. James on Wikipedia and about the legend and the Way of St. James Christian Pilgrimage.

On one side of the shell is a reproduction of Michelangelo’s Statue of David, and on the other side is a reproduction of Donatello’s Statue of St. George.

San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The three statues in the niches are, left to right,

San Diego Museum of Art in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

To the left and right of the three statues are busts of Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652) and El Greco (1541-1614), founders of the school of painting that produced Velásquez, Surbarán, and Murillo.

San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The panel above the statues of Velásquez, Surbarán, and Murillo are the coats-of-arms of the United States (center), Kingdom of Spain (left), and State of California (right). Above the coat-of-arms of California is a bust of Father Junípero Serra (1713-1784), the founder of nine missions in California, including the very first mission, Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, in July 1769 in San Diego.

San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sources

Descriptive Guide Book of the California-Pacific International Exposition at San Diego, California, 1935.Published byAmerican Autochrome Co., Chicago. pp. 14-15.

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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21 thoughts on “San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 6

  1. Angeline M

    Wonderful post that leaves me wondering why I didn’t get down there to see this when I lived in OC. Drat! Now I’ll have to fly down from NorCal. Beautiful place, and thanks for the history.

    Like

    Reply
  2. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks: #1–El Prado Area Designation, part 7 | Russel Ray Photos

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