Friday, November 18, 2011

Delight at the Museum

I love a good landscape, a good action scene, a powerful sculpture, even some well-executed contemporary art.
But faces really get me.
A good artist somehow, through two or three dimensional media, presents us with
an added inscrutable dimension of soul and personality and history.
And we find ourselves thinking that we know someone who looks just like the face looking back from the creation,
or we think we know what they are thinking,
or most poignant of all–
"I wish I knew that person."

Please let me introduce you to some of my favorite folks at the museum.
I have searched and searched for the name of this painting and the artist. When I find it I'll give credit.
Wrinkles and gray hair don't show the ruthless vandalizing of age. The dulling of eyes which have seen everything under the sun and welcome the blurring obscurity, the thinning of lips held tight, waiting to share wisdom but refusing to quaver with fear or weakness. This is how one paints age.

Proserpine, the goddess who brings spring after four longs months of winter imprisonment. Powers made her soft and yielding–except for that determined little chin.

This is Eliza Susan Martin, also known as Mrs. Josiah Quincy. Stuart gave her the same soft color in her cheeks that he gave Dolly Madison. Her eyes are soft too, and kind. And the term 'graceful, swanlike neck' could have been created just for her.

This portrait of an Egyptian woman was painted almost 2000 years ago but you could no doubt find her twin in Cairo today, wearing a similar pair of earrings.

This is 'The Woodgatherer' by Bastien-Lepage. You don't need to see the load on his back to know that he is exhausted to the point of dropping. Below is another portion of the painting. When you see it you'll know why he won't quit.
Here is his little granddaughter, finding treasures along the path to pick. What grandfather wouldn't battle fatigue and an arthritic back to keep this little face warm and rosy?

Mr. Frederick Layton, sculpted by Trentanoue. He made his fortune and used it for philanthropy. Looking at this face I'm not surprised.

Aren't we happy that Beaux chose to paint Olive Bagley and her son John looking at each other instead of the artist?

'The Latest Acquisition' by Holmburg shows us a churchman examining a new treasure against a backdrop of many many others. He looks like a man who hasn't made up his mind yet. Robin thought he  looked like a man who had been hitting the bottle. Can she say that?

No one knows the artist or the subject. It is just called 'Bust of a Nobleman'.
Whoever he is, he exemplifies the 'noble' in nobleman.

Bol painted a 'Portrait of an Oriental' and I'm not sure the Oriental would be a comfortable person to know but he looks like a man with a strong personality. He fascinates me.

The women here and the men below are part of a painting with the pithy title 'The People's Bank Shortly Before the Crash' by Bokelmann. I know these people. I swear I do.

And oh, how I wish I knew the little Bavarian Peasant Girl who sat glowering at vonLenbach as he was no doubt keeping her from more pleasant pursuits. Some day I want a granddaughter who looks like this. But I never want her to look at me in the same way she is looking at the artist.


Lori Lipsky said...

It's almost as if we visited two different museums.

I love seeing the faces from your perspective. Thanks for sharing.

Suef said...

Yes, yes! I recognize people I know in these paintings! It is uncanny.