Still Life with Liqueur and Fruit, 1814
Oil on panel
Still Life with Liqueur and Fruit is an exceptional early example of Raphaelle Peale’s “dining room pictures” and is one of only some 50 examples known today. The artist’s still lifes were considered extraordinary long before the vogue for still life took hold later in the century.
Delicacies from far-off origins, associated with the types of desserts offered in well-to-do households, are presented here in tempting detail. The meticulously rendered textures and skillfully executed reflections underscore Peale’s interest in scientific naturalism. The flawlessly balanced composition speaks to the desire in the early Republic for rational order, although the suggestion of extravagance simmers just below the surface.
Natural Bridge, Virginia, ca. 1835
Jacob C. Ward
Oil on panel
Jacob Ward painted the Natural Bridge in Virginia so that viewers gaze at the geological marvel from below. This low vantage point emphasizes the 200-foot height of the Bridge. Listed among the natural wonders of the world, the Natural Bridge was first owned by Thomas Jefferson, who received it from King George III in 1774.
During the early 19th century, many artists rendered the Natural Bridge because the site ranked with Niagara Falls as one of the new nation's most inspiring landmarks and tourist attractions. Such natural monuments were thought to distinguish America from Europe. Ward was one of America's first landscape painters and among the first contributors to exhibitions at the National Academy of Design in New York. *