View of Lake Garda
Oil on canvas
"Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was one of the leading French landscape painters of the 1800s. During repeated trips to Italy between the 1820s and 1840s, he dedicated himself to painting and sketching from nature. Later in life, when he preferred to work in his Parisian studio, Corot relied on these sketches for inspiration or painted landscapes from memory. In this painting, a boatman and a contadina (Italian peasant woman) lounge on the banks of Lake Garda, a site that Corot had visited three decades earlier."
Venice, the Grand Canal with the Doge’s Palace, 1889
Oil on canvas
In the late 19th century, Venice was heralded as a refuge from modernity, and Thomas Moran's paintings of the legendary Italian city reinforced this perception. Moran's Venice, the Grand Canal with the Doge's Palace shows famous buildings along the Grand Canal bathed in a romantic, atmospheric glow. Fanciful boats, gondolas and figures dressed in historical costumes contribute exotic details. Moran, who first visited Venice in 1886, created this and related scenes from memory with the aid of studies.
Moran followed a long line of artists who painted Venice, including English painter J. M. W. Turner, whose feathery brushwork and poetic treatment of light exerted great influence on the American.
Ebony, ebonized walnut, ivory, and glass
Giovanni Battista Gatti
(Italian, 1816 – 1889)
"Rectangular ebony panel with two large ebonized walnut oval frames within which are glass cameo portraits of William and Elizabeth Gilstrap, surrounded by intricate inlaid ivory grotesques of monsters and foliage. Beneath the portraits are the Gilstrap arms. Between the two framed ovals is a female figure holding wreathes over the two portraits. At the corners of the panel are four lobes with ivory portraits of Italian Renaissance artists: Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, and Perugino. The border between these lobes is decorated with inlaid ivory grotesques and foliage as well as cameo portrait busts of ancient philosophers and emperors: Galba, Socrates, Tiberius, Plato, and Vespasian.
Giovanni Battista Gatti specialized in decorative objects made of ebony with elaborate inlaid ivory ornament. The intricate technique and the motifs of grotesques, foliage, and animals drew from Italian and German Renaissance sources. In this panel, Gatti included ivory portraits of the Italian Renaissance artists Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Perugino. He also incorporated portraits of ancient philosophers and emperors. Gatti (Italian for “cats”) often included his namesake in his works. Can you find a feline face near the center of the panel?"
Still Life with Cat and Fish
(French, 1699 – 1779)
“On a brown stone ledge in lower foreground are placed an overturned shallow pottery bowl with a large piece of cut fish lying on top; at left, a calico cat placing its front left paw on the fish; at right, two scallions, three mussels, and a piece of fruit; suspended above the ledge, right of center, hang two hake; all are set against a brown wall.” 🐈
"The French painter Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin is considered one of the finest exponents of still life painting in the history of art. Largely self-taught and influenced in particular by a down-to-earth realism, he produced highly polished small-scale works of still life as well as numerous examples of genre painting evoking a sober, simplistic harmony. Although both his background and his subjects were humble, he became one of the most important and influential contributors to French painting of the 18th century, raising still lifes and domestic scenes to a new level of importance."
The Lost Hotels of Paris
(excerpt) by Jack Gilbert
Ginsberg came to my house one afternoon
and said he was giving up poetry
because it told lies, that language distorts.
I agreed, but asked what we have
that gets it right even that much.
We look up at the stars and they are
not there. We see the memory
of when they were, once upon a time.
And that too is more than enough.
“Between memory and reality there are awkward discrepancies…” — Eileen Chang