Monday, December 15, 2008


There are dozens of bronze statues in Golden Gate Park dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. All of them depict white males striking heroic poses and are cast in bronze and stand atop carved granite plinths to raise them higher off the human earth. Full-length figures predominate, but busts are also frequent. Nature has discreetly overgrown many of these idealistic statues with bushes and trees, and partial glimpses through foliage are much preferable to the full frontal view. However, the statue I noticed last Friday while walking along the main drag toward the art museum was a quite mercilessly unobscured depiction of Scottish poet Robert Burns. I had no impulse at all to photograph the poor clumsy green representation, but my attention against my will got pulled to the carved ornamentation on the inevitable plinth. Thistles. Scotland, yes I see, we knew it would be thistles, but truly what grand swags of thistles those are, with period swirls at corners.