Greatest Hits, Part II

Hi, all!  I’ve finally decided to get around to some more of my favorites from the Met.  I’ll try to explain why it’s taking me longer than usual asap.

Manet, “Young Lady in 1866”

The Met has a really overwhelming collection of Manet paintings.  He’s one of my all time favorite painters (and maybe my favorite French painter).  I had a hard time choosing one piece, but I like the little things about this one.  The model is Victorine Meurent, of “Olympia” fame.  It’s rare in iconic Manet paintings to see her clothed!  My favorite detail of this painting, and I don’t even know if it’s intentional, is the model’s necklace.  It’s very similar to the choker worn in “Olympia.”  In that painting, it highlights the stark nudity, but in this work, it’s a startling contrast to the model’s clothing.

Gerome, “Pygmalion and Galatea”

You already know I’m fond of this painting.  For shame, it is not on view!  I was still excited, after spending so much time with it in my friend’s living room, to find out that the Met owns it.  I love this version of the myth.  The passion is is evident in the positions of the figures, but is an interesting contrast to Gerome’s trademark “marble” looking subjects.  In fact, only the coloring of the female figure makes it clear that she is no longer completely stone.  It’s weird to think about paint looking frigid, when sculptors like Bernini made pieces where the stone was as flesh and very much lifelike.

Klimt, “Mada Primavesi”

The Met has two excellent Klimt paintings.  The other, a normal society portrait, is beautiful but “less Klimt” if that makes any sense.  “Mada Primavesi” has always been a beloved painting of mine, partly because people say I look like it.  To me, however, it shows off the signature Klimt style of mixing realism with fantasy backgrounds in a different way than most of his work.  Instead of deep blues, blood reds, and Byzantine golds, the girl is surrounded by muted pastels.  The effect is very pleasant and calming rather than tumultuous, like most of Klimt’s pieces.  A cool fact:  the subject was born in 1903 and lived until 2000.  Imagine how many artistic movements she lived through!

Irving Ramsey Wiles, “The Green Cushion”

I have really unintelligent reasons for loving this painting.  That is, it mostly appeals to me because it’s beautiful.  It’s also a little bit of an escapist piece for me, since it is a well known fact that I have out of control golden age of New York fantasies.

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