Welcome back to Artwork of the Week! I’m really enjoying writing the posts for this series, so I hope you are finding them useful. 🙂
Today, I chose another painting that I just find beautiful.
There is a lot to find intriguing about this artwork. The first thing that grabs me is the woman’s haunting stare. I love that the lighting comes from behind her because she is an artist. She would sit in a way that her art was well lit. Her hair and dress glow with the backlighting.
The people on the balcony in the background emphasize her solitude. We are left to wonder what is on her paper, but the way she stares intently out to the viewer makes me think she is drawing me, and now you, and also whoever else is reading this post, and whoever is looking at this right now at the Met Museum. She pulls us in and makes us a part of the painting.
Another intriguing aspect of this painting is its history. It was originally attributed to the famed Neoclassical painter, Jacques-Louis David, but after studying the history of its exhibition, they realized he could not have painted this. For a long time, this was a whodunnit mystery. It was attributed to another female painter for a while, and then it was labeled as unknown artist until 1996, more study revealed that it was probably created by Marie-Denise Villers.
I got all my information about this painting on the Met Museum website. Click this link and then click “Catalogue Entry” for more information about the artist and artwork.
The Met Museum has an awesome audio series on their website called Connections. Curators and others talk about the art in the museum in relation to their own lives. It’s a beautiful series. This artwork is in a great one called Anonymous, and it reflects on the anonymous women depicted in artworks. It’s great. Check it out here.