If you’ve ever been to the R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport, you’ve seen an impressive collection of art. Indeed the permanent collection spans from 2400 BC to artists working today. From 16th century tapestries once owned by the King of France to modern glass sculptures, enjoy a wide variety of unique treasures at the Norton. During 2020, the gallery went through a makeover so if you haven’t been in a while, make the trip. The stories behind these works of art are as exciting as the pieces themselves. Emily Feazel, Designer of Special Exhibits and Special Events took us through the museum and highlighted some of the unique pieces.
AN ANCIENT WEAPON
Used in ancient Persia, this bronze sword now resides in the Antiquities Room. The Luristan people of western Iran fashioned this ceremonial weapon around the 9th century BC. Not much is known about the Lurs except they became expert horse breeders and served in several cavalries.
AN ILLUMINATING BOOK OF HOURS
A Book of Hours is a Christian devotional book. Since these were written before the introduction of the printing press, these hand written and illuminated books became popular with the lay people and nobles. Many books contained silver and gold with rich illustrations. The Book of Hours in the Norton’s Research Library was accidentally found in a cigar box. They believe that a member of the Norton family purchased the book but officially didn’t add it to the collection.
Once discovered, curators had the book appraised by Christie’s in New York to confirm the authenticity. Turns out, this book dates to the 1350s and most liking created in France. Inside the book, you’ll see several fleur-de-lis and drawings of Saint Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris. The cigar box kept the book in near pristine condition so they keep it in the box in a dark room to protect it. You can view TheBook of Hours every December when curators bring it out.
THE NORTON’S CONNECTION TO NEW YORK CITY AND WASHINGTON D.C.
Stop by and say hi to Fragilina! Famous Italian-American sculptor Attilio Piccirili sculpted Fragilina in 1923. The original sits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The one in Shreveport is almost identical except for a few changes to the feet. This Carrara marble statue is one of his most famous sculptures behind his work sculpting the President Abraham Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
RARE POSTERS FROM WARTIME
With so many men going to war in the 1910s and 1940s, women stepped up to fill in at the workplace. The R.W. Norton Art Gallery features the propaganda posters from that era in the “A Woman’s War” section. One of the highlights is a rare, complete set of eight “Jenny on the Job” posters. These illustrations done during World War II show a view of what women would experience in a day if they entered the workforce.
Visit the Norton and see these unique treasures Friday and Saturday from 1:00pm-7:00pm and on Sundays from 1:00pm-5:00pm. Please follow local Covid guidelines.
Don’t forget to visit the gardens behind the gallery.
[ Botanical Gardens Open at Norton Art Gallery ]
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