Monday, January 10, 2011

Paintings with Biographies

Sargent, Daughters of Edward Boit,

Tyler Green’s blogs are always fun to read! In one of his recent blog post he talked about painting’s biographies! And that got me thinking! There are some paintings that intrigue you and makes you come back to them again and again!And you want to know about their “life”! When you think about these paintings, you always wonder who the people in the painting were…. What were their relationships with the artist, what were their lives like….!

 One such painting is The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit at Boston MFA. Whenever I visit the  MFA, I stand  in front of this painting and wonder about these grave little girls. What was the story of their lives? Why do they look like they have a secret to keep? It was really interesting when Tyler Green wrote about the new book published by the MFA called, Sargent’s Daughters: The Biography of a Painting. The book talks about Sargent and the Boit family and interweaves their stories with the atmosphere of the American Expatriate community. The book also follows the painting's journey from the Boit family collection to the MFA collection. In other words the book tells the “biography” of the painting from its inception to its final resting place.

Below are some of the paintings that can have amazing biographies written about them! These are some of my all time favorite paintings!

Velazquez, La Meninas
The first on my list is La Meninas. It has host of characters and intriguing placement of figures and the general air of mystery! Think about all the characters and that looming figure of the artist himself! This biography can ran for 500 pages, at least! I would call the book, “The Ghosts in the Mirror”!

Manet, Bar at Folies-Bergere

Another painting that has always captured my imagination is The Bar at Folies-Bergere, by Manet! Again there is that puzzle about the mirror! But I wonder about the girl…. Who was she? What was her story? How did she meet Manet? What was he thinking when he made the painting? Oh, the things we can find out if these paintings could talk! I would call the Biography, “Puzzling Reflections”

Rembrandt, The Night Watch
The third painting on my list is The Night Watch by Rembrandt.The possibilities!! Who are these people? Why are there women in the painting, which is essentially about men with arms? What was Rembrandt’s relationship with the patron/s? We do know that, this was one of his last major commissions. After this painting, he lost much of his patronage and declined into poverty! Coincidence? I will call the biography, “The Night Watchers and Rembrandt’s Fall”.

So these are my three choices for today! I would love to hear about your choices!

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