The Riva, No. 2, One of the 'Twenty-six Etchings,' or the 'Second Venice Set'
James McNeill Whistler
A view of a city along the edge of water sweeps from the foreground towards the right in the distance. Along quays, bridges and promenades can be seen groupoings of people walking and in conversation. Boats populate the water's edge: smaller boats in the foreground, larger multi-masted ships in the distance.
Artist Life Dates
Object Creation Date
Medium and Support
etching and drypoint, printed in warm black ink on laid paper, trimmed to platem
A group of soldiers stand and sit in a landscape; some face the camera while others are posed engaged in conversation. Behind them stand several tall trees and between them a tent with the flaps decorated with an American flag. Seated alone to the left is a young African-American man holding a broom.
A figure in elaborate costume with a fur-lined cloak, ruff collar, and medal leans on a bed or couch, a sword in his left hand and right raised with palm outstretched. He faces the viewer but does not look at the viewer. Overturned at his feet is a suit of armor. He is placed within a military tent and to the left is a distant landscape with other tents and figures gathered around a fire, suggesting this is a nocturnal scene.
In this idyllic scene, the goddess Parvati offers her husband Shiva a drink, as they enjoy a quiet moment together. Their children, the elephant-headed Ganesha and Skanda, play inside a tent made from the hide of an elephant demon that Shiva had slain. Both parents are clothed in animal skins, the garb of mountain-dwelling ascetics, while Shiva is further adorned with a long necklace of skulls and a snake.