Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday's Mural: Genesis...

Located above a portico of Frary Hall, Pomona College, the Genesis mural, painted by Rico Lebrun, was painted during the autumn of 1960. Lebrun created this monochromatic work in response to viewing the monumental Prometheus, by Jose Clemente Orozco, painted inside this same building, during a campus visit in 1956. The following description is from Claremont Heritage:
Standing on the center of Frary Hall’s entry arch, the monumental figure of Noah, expanded in stature by the folds of his patchwork cloak, bows his head as he tightly embraces the smaller figure of his son beneath the skeletal ribs of the wreckage of his ark. The scene, the event following the destruction by the flood, represents both the survival of the human race and the redemption of mankind. The focus of the composition, the scene is flanked by other events from the book of Genesis. Lower left, Adam and Eve depart the Garden of Eden, anguished and writhing in shame as the images of their sons, Cain and Abel, issue forth from their heads. The figures, locked in embrace, perhaps symbolize the fusion of the tendencies toward both good and evil which dwell in the souls of all mankind.
The destruction of Sodom and Gemorrah occupies the rounded lunette above Cain and Abel. Punishment is loosed upon those who stray from the moral laws of a just but vengeful God. The lunette to the right of the mutilated pile of Sodom and Gemorrah’s victims depicts Job, also a biblical victim of God’s judgment. But here the motive for punishment remains ambiguous, as though human misery so often has no reasonable or rational foundation. This scene is the only one in the mural not drawn from the book of Genesis.
The lower right scene returns the viewer to the central theme: the flood. Here doomed victims struggle in vain to escape the rising waters. God’s destruction of all people is indicated, save for the faithful Noah and his kin.

I took the overall photo a number of years ago (I can tell, because that is my very first mountain bike which made its way into the view), but the space is too dark to get any decent shot with a handheld camera. I went back more recently with a tripod to get the detailed photos. This one is so big, it really needs to be seen in person, so ride on over and check it out. Actually, I think we need to do a mural ride one of these months.

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