Gilded brass (or gilded copper alloy) standing Buddha on lotus pedestal with both hands raised in abhaya mudra.
Buddha in intricate costume standing on a lotus pedestal. Such elaborate decoration has come to characterize Thai Buddhist imagery of the 19th and 20th centuries. Hands form double abhaya mudra (the gesture of reassurance), called “calming the ocean” by Thais.
Landscape painting of costal scene overlooking a body of water using an aerial perspective; three tree tops in center in darkened foreground in front of a glowing sky
Seeking solace after the Civil War, Kensett acquired property on Contentment Island on the Long Island Sound near Darien, Connecticut. This painting, probably painted from the artist's third-floor bedroom window or cupola, at the highest point of the island, captures the spirit of a nation in transition after the Civil War and reflects the desire to escape the congestion of growing cities to a place of placid retreat, and a longing to return to nature and the simpler, rural life of early America.
March 28 2009
The aftermath of the U.S. Civil War (1861–1865) left Americans shaken and riddled with a collective sense of uncertainty. Seeking a place of solace, Kensett acquired property just off the coast of Connecticut in an area aptly named Contentment Island. It was there that the artist painted some of his finest works, transitioning from a traditional Hudson River school style to a Luminist style, characterized by a strong interest in capturing the effects of atmospheric light in landscapes. Kensett favored horizontally formatted, panoramic compositions that featured huge skies and broad coastal views and provided lots of room to explore the play of both color and light on land and water. His earliest training was as an engraver, and it may be that his experience with the modulation of the gray scale requisite to that art gave him his almost unrivalled ability to render color values and saturation. With its distillation of forms, virtually imperceptible brush strokes, subtle tonal changes, and shimmering light effects, Sunset Near Darien creates a timeless mood of peace and tranquility.
The French eighteenThis firescreen, a panel of embroidered gold silk mounted in an ornately carved frame, represents a highly elaborate type popular in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Made by Napoleon’s chief furniture supplier, the illustrious firm of Jacob-Desmalter and Company, the Museum’s firescreen once stood in the Palace of the Tuileries in Paris. In 1803, Napoleon, eager to legitimize his rule and his presence in the French capitol, launched a major campaign to rennovate the royal palaces in and around Paris in trademark "Empire" style (1799–1815).
Created by the designers Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762–1853) and Charles Percier (1764–1838) in close association with Napoleon, the Empire style reflects Napoleon’s dynastic aspirations. It is characterized by a mixture of antique forms and ornaments with such Napoleonic motifs as bees, large Ns in laurel wreaths, and eagles, along with "Égyptiennerie" devices like sphinxes and hieroglyphics, which acquired symbolic significance in light of Napoleon’s 1798 Egyptian campaign. While this firescreen does not possess such typical Napoleonic motifs, it is a clear example of the form lavishly decorated with antique motifs favored by Napoleon.
(C. McNamara, 18th-19th Century Gallery installation, early 1999)
Native of Shimabara, Hizen province (present-day Nagasaki Prefecture, Kyûshû). Studied Chinese-style painting with Chinese artists in Nagasaki; became acquainted with many artists who aspired to Chinese styles, such as Tani Bunchô. Specialized in landscapes. See Roberts, Dictionary of Japanese Artists, p. 192.