Penitent Saint Jerome in Landscape (1525-1530)
Master of the Female Half-Lengths
Flemish (Antwerp), active 1520s-1530s
Oil on wood panel
"The Master of the Female Half-Lengths is a name given to an as yet unidentified artist who worked in Antwerp and Bruges and specialized in paintings of half-length female figures. A number of landscapes have been attributed to him, including this panel. This type of panoramic landscape with jagged rocks and small figures engaged in varied activities was intended to evoke the harmony between man and the wonders of nature. Landscapes at this time were considered works of mere imitation, requiring little imaginative power, so their status was usually enhanced by endowing them with a religious subject, in this case the Penitent Saint Jerome."
The Vengeance of Hop-Frog (1898)
"James Ensor used theatrical metaphors to critique the inhumanity of the world around him. In this print, he illustrates a scene from "Hop-Frog," a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. In Poe's story, Hop-Frog (a dwarf court jester so named because his physical deformity prevented him from walking upright) avenges the mistreatment that he and fellow dwarf Trippetta have suffered at the hands of the king and his entourage. Hop-Frog convinces the royal band to wear orangutan costumes, chains them together like wild beasts and leads them into a grand masquerade ball, where they gleefully terrify the guests. As seen here, in a shocking act of retribution, he hoists them to the ceiling, climbs up to "discover" their identities and "accidentally" sets them afire with his torch."