When my parents lived in Los Feliz, you could see the cross at Forest Lawn, in Glendale, from my parents living room window. My parents had been over there and had encouraged me to go, on many occasions. "There's a huge painting of the crucifixion and a big stained glass window of the Last Supper." Frankly it sounded kind of cheesy. And, to be frank, in some respects there is a bit of cheese involved.
Forest Lawn Memorial Park
Welcome the present moment
as if you had invited it.
It is all we ever have
so might as well work with it
rather than struggling against it.
We might as well make it our friend and teacher …
But, I was invited on a date there. I know, it sounds strange. But, there is a museum there, and a gallery, that holds various temporary exhibitions. The current one is of movie art, and that is what we actually went there to see.
The exhibition is called Drew and Bob - The Masters of Movie Art. (runs through May 26, if you are interested.) There were a wide range of movie posters from Apocalypse Now to Camelot, Raiders of the Los Ark and Star Wars. (My favorite, along with Pan's Labyrinth.) Very cool, if you are into that sort of thing. What was interesting was that many were mixed media, with acrylic and and colored pencils!
Here's a YouTube video of the opening. (We were there on a very mellow afternoon.) It's kind of long so you might not want to watch the whole thing.
Forest Lawn was founded in 1906 and the founder was a big fan of art. Their Crucifixion by Jan Styka (1858-1925) from the turn of the century, is the largest permanently mounted religious painting on display, anywhere in the world. They built "The Hall of the Crucifixion" just to show off the 195 foot panoramic painting. It's a pretty cool painting, but you can't just stand there and look at it.
It's in an auditorium and you sit, the lights come on and shine brighter on parts of the painting, as a narrator tells you the story of the crucifixion. Being that I know the story and how it ends, I just kind of wanted to see the painting. But alas, you have to bare with the bells and whistles. The curtain closes near the end and there is a smaller, newer, painting of the resurrection. To me, that one looked like an illustration from a Children's Bible.
The "memorial park" is set on a hillside in Glendale (across from Los Feliz) and the best part, for me, are the views. Above, you are looking out over Glendale.
You are the sky.
Everything else is just the weather.
Other than the views, the best part of the museum is the beautiful Renaissance stained glass (Below) by Albrecht Durer. I would have taken more photos but after this shot, someone came and told me "no photos." Oh, well, At least I got this one!
The other really beautiful piece of art, is an original William Bouguereau. Song of the Angels.
When you begin to touch Your heart
or let it be touched,
you begin to discover it's bottomless,
that it doesn't have any resolution,
that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless.
You begin to discover
how much warmth is there
as well as how much space.
Compassion becomes real
when we recognize our shared humanity.
~ Pema Chödrön
Mosaic of a Bouguereu's Childhood Idol, over a family plot.
It is unconditional compassion for ourselves
that leads to unconditional compassion for others.
In this huge mausoleum there is a stained glass recreation of the da Vinci's Last Supper, by Italian artist, Rosa Moretti of Perugia. It was brought to Forest Lawn in 1931 and it turns out my parents were right. It really is beautiful and looks like it's from 500 years ago. I'd go back just to see it earlier in the day, when the light is brighter, coming through the window. Unfortunately, no photography in there, to show it to you.
Nothing ever Goes away
until it has taught us what we need to know.
I thought this was so serene and beautiful … a lovely tribute.
Here is a cute version of Delta Rae song "Dance in the Graveyards" with that awesome kids choir PS22, from Staten Island, singing back up!
Anyway, it was a lovely day, worth the drive over to Glendale!
When there is a great disappointment,
we don't know if that's the end of the story.
It may be just the beginning
of a great adventure.
Blessings and light!