Inscriptions and Art

The exterior of the Joslyn Art Museum, courtesty of Omana CVB.
The exterior of the Joslyn Art Museum, courtesty of Omana CVB.

I visited the Joslyn Art Museum for the first time last Saturday. What a shame. I could have been going there for the past 3 years.

I love art deco buildings, and this museum is incredibly beautiful, with shiny marble and guilded figures conjuring up visions of the past. It is a work of art in itself. It reminds me of the nebraska state capitol in Lincoln and Creighton Hall on campus here.

They have some fantastic exhibits on display right now, including the stunning “Marie Curie” by Jennifer Steinkamp. It is a large installation consisting of computer-generated flowers and three large projectors. A must see. Also on display: “Route 36,” a series of black and white photographs by William Wylie, which made me feel like I was driving on a highway back home, and “Ten Masterworks from the Whitney Museum of American Art,” which are ten iconic and varied works that were once considered too modern for their own good.

"The Poker Game" from "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Thomas Hart Benton
“The Poker Game” from “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Thomas Hart Benton
"The Hailstorm" by Thomas Hart Benton
“The Hailstorm” by Thomas Hart Benton

I appreciated the two Thomas Hart Benton paintings that were on display. My father has always admired his work, and I have seen my fair share of Benton paintings. One I instantly recognized as his, “The Hailstorm.” Another I recognized as depicting a scene from Tennessee William’s “A Streetcar named Desire,” but not as being Benton’s work. I love William’s plays and it has always been my dream to play Blanche DuBois. The painting summed up the scene perfectly.










The thing that struck me the most was a simple inscription on the interior. It said:

“The entered the land to discover it
iron was in their hands
they entered the land to redeem it
love was in their hearts.”

So I naturally had to look it up. Turns out, there are three located in the building.  I can’t find anywhere who wrote them, so I am going to assume it was Brcin, the architect who designed the building.

The inscriptions are so beautiful. (Maybe that is just because I am in a french poetry class. Who knows?) The inscriptions are focused on and commemorate the contributions of the historical inhabitants of the Omaha/Nebraska region. They are surrounded with inset medallions that depict these figures, which are as follows:

(Native American)
“In the morning of time they came
their drums were beating
their hearts were high
the land summoned them and they loved it”

(Spanish conquistador and priest)
“They entered the land to discover it
iron was in their hands
they entered the land to redeem it
love was in their hearts”

(prospector and farmer)
“The house of his protection the land gave
to him that sought  her out
and unto him that delved
gave return of her fruits”

How moving and beautiful.

Anybody want to go again next weekend? Every Saturday morning is free!

For more information on the museum, click here.

For a link to the PDF of the inscriptions, click here.


2 thoughts on “Inscriptions and Art

  1. Allison Gearhart July 23, 2014 / 5:03 PM

    I think these are verses and words from God and the bible which is His word but I can’t find the exact form of these verses. I know they are words from God though. I was just there today and thought it was beautiful these inscriptions and didn’t know where they could be from but I am sure they are in the bible somewhere.

    • Amanda Brandt July 28, 2014 / 9:47 AM

      If you find a specific verse, please let me know!

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