Throwback Thursdays Art – w/ Update!

Throwback Thursdays Art – w/ Update!

Every Thursday, as part of my personal “enriched environment” initiative, I post a piece of art, usually from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which recently released online some 400,000 high-resolution images of its collection.  All artwork will show a sun (or sunlight) somewhere. 

I won’t name the piece or the artist, but instead invite you to study the art and post a comment addressing one or more of these questions:

  • What is going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can you find?

If you have another idea, run with it.

Special Update!  The New York Times website does this same exercise every Monday with a news photo that is uncaptioned and contains no text (click!).  The Times asks viewers the same three questions:

  • What is going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can you find?

However, at the end of the week, the Times posts the background information on the picture.  So, I’ve decided to do the same.  I’ll still post an unlabeled piece of art on Thursday.  But return on Sunday (for the Sunny Sundays post!) and you’ll find an update on the artwork here.

Note:  To embiggen the image, click on it! 



Portrait of the Painter

Artist:  John La Farge (American, New York 1835–1910 Providence, Rhode Island)

Date:  1859

Medium:  Oil on wood panel

Dimensions:  16 1/16 x 11 1/2 in. (40.8 x 29.2 cm)

Classification:  Paintings

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

This self-portrait, which La Farge painted in October 1859 at his family’s estate in Glen Cove, Long Island, reflects his use of a photograph as a pictorial source; his appreciation of the unmodulated shapes and flattened space of Japanese prints; his reliance on broad tonal masses in the manner of his teachers, Thomas Couture and William Morris Hunt; and his experiments in plein-air landscape painting. The artist portrays himself as a landscapist ready to embark on a painting expedition.

About The Author: Bruce

5 Comments

  1. Aisha
    Reply

    Strange picture! The man is standing with his back to the sun, which you can tell by the way his shadow ventures downward and toward the bottom of the picture. He’s dressed in black and his face is in shadow. He’s a mystery man. I find that the expression on his face is unreadable.

  2. Chris Tempe
    Reply

    Yes, this is a strange picture. The sun is off in the background, and the man is standing with his back to the sun, casting his face in shadow. What we see of the shadow his body casts upon the ground is entirely within the borders of the path.

  3. Doug
    Reply

    Follow the Shadow Man !!! Beware !!! He’ll take you up the path and over the hill and then see what happens !!! Watch out for that stick, too !!!!!!!

  4. Carey
    Reply

    Just want to point out that if you enlarge the painting you will see that it’s painted on wooden boards.

  5. Georgia
    Reply

    The man is on a path. His shadow is on the same path. The path is well-defined in the foreground but gets less-well defined as it ventures up the hill. The man’s face is in shadow, which I agree is unusual. He’s holding a long walking stick. He’s thin an d he’s dressed in all black, with the cuffs and collar of a white shirt showing a little contrast. The sun is in the background and a little off to the right. You can see the sunlight gets brighter up and beyond the hill. Behind the man and on the left side of the painting a steep hill slopes downward. The man’s body curves outward to the right, paralleling the path and the hill behind him.

    I don’t think this picture is eerie, although other people might think so. His face is unreadable, in part because it’s in shadow. How strange to paint the main person in a picture’s face in shadow?

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