Sunday, June 14, 2009


In Virginia! Steve and I headed down here to celebrate Matthew's graduation. Matthew is my cousin and he has just finished high school. Today we went into Washington DC- and got to tool around The National Gallery! I love that place! I'd like to share some pieces I enjoyed today that I thought you might like too...

Here are my favorite paintings from the early Italian Renaissance. First, Portrait of a Youth by Botticelli. See how exquisite Botticelli is with color? He really packs a bright wallop! And yet with such class.
This is Madonna and Child by Domenico Ghirlandaio. Those Italians! I love how they painted so brightly up until Raphael. This painting is a great example of fresh color use: the sky blue and pink Mary wears, and Jesus in that periwinkle. All ensconced in goldleaf! Oo and what a rich trim she has on her cloak!
Welcome to Ginevra de'Benci by Leonardo Da Vinci! On the back of this painting Da Vinci painted a juniper plant that's swirled about with the logo, "VIRTUTEM FORMA DECORAT," or "Beauty adorns virtue."
Also hung out with the American Impressionists! Late 19th Century and early 20th Century. I didn't know I was going to get to see such precious pieces- my favorites again!

First, Repose by John Singer Sargent. This is actually a small painting, and close up it appears to be just a sketch. Yet, when stepping away from it, Sargent's mastery really comes out, because what originally appeared to be a sketch up close morphs into a complete and vibrant painting with distance. His brush strokes are so economical that the finished piece is miraculous in its simplicity! How could so few brush strokes accomplish so much? Here's a piece with phenomenal forms. It captivated me. It's The Mother of Pearl and Silver: The Andalusian by Whistler. So much finesse. In person, this piece is darker- the background looks black- making it appear as if she's emerging out of pure darkness. Whew! Well that does it for me! Do you know that some people returning from European travels post-1800 were diagnosed with a certain psychological disease? Yeah. Doctors said their disjointed state on return to America was due to "beauty overload." I hope we catch it too!


Anonymous said...

You were born with
'Beauty Overload' silly!(Gods' invisible Golden Thread was wrapped around your heart, vibin' out in the womb)
How awesome for you guys to be with your family and beloved Italian friends :)

Grazie mille Beauty!

Shannon said...

Cool, cool. The Golden Thread I saw originally was going to be a long gold DNA strand weaving in and out of humans- though is now morphing into something else that includes more of life... since it is a part of everything. Some glimmers are more obvious than others, but... that means no thing!

Prego, Bella! Arrivederci ciao!

Marguaritte said...

Oohh, ahhh what an eye feast.
I especially love the Repose by John Singer Sargent.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of like us, when we are looking up close on the surface we seem like a simple sketch, but when our awareness expands the further we distance ourselves from that limited perception...woah!

Shannon said...

I'm with you, Margo. That painting makes me feel electric! :D

What a cool observation, Anon!

Anonymous said...

You really are such a sweetheart Shannon, you are like the Tree Swallows that come to play, they make each day more special just being what they are. They never say "Hey maybe it's time you get off your ass and go do something!"
They just inspire spontaneous joy and creativity. Thank-you for all you give, you exemplify Grace ;)

Shannon said...

Ah so sweet. Thank you.