Thursday, February 15, 2018

Nineteenth-Century Visions in Two Dimensions

Anonymous photographer
Plaster casts of hands and feet
ca. 1875-1900
albumen print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Jacobus Ludovicus Cornet
Room of Cornelis de Witt in Prison at the Gevangenpoort in The Hague
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

In the Prison Pen

Listless he eyes the palisades
      And sentries in the glare;
'Tis barren as a pelican-beach –
      But his world is ended there.

Nothing to do; and vacant hands
      Bring on the idiot-pain;
He tries to think – to recollect,
      But the blur is on his brain.

Around him swarm the plaining ghosts
      Like those on Virgil's shore –
A wilderness of faces dim,
      And pale ones gashed and hoar.

A smiting sun. No shed, no tree;
      He totters to his lair –
A den that sick hands dug in earth
      Ere famine wasted there,

Or, dropping in his place, he swoons,
      Walled in by throngs that press,
Till forth from the throngs they bear him dead –
      Dead in his meagerness.

– Herman Melville (1864)

Giacomo Brogi
Vatican Palace Library Salon in Rome, designed by Domenico Fontana (1543-1607)
ca. 1856-81
albumen silver print
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Henri Fantin-Latour
Manet's studio in the Batignolles
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Theodor von Holst
The Fairy Lovers
ca. 1840
oil on canvas
Tate Gallery

Song of Fairies Robbing an Orchard

We, the Fairies, blithe and antic,
Of dimensions not gigantic,
Though the moonshine mostly keep us,
Oft in orchards frisk and peep us.

Stolen sweets are always sweeter,
Stolen kisses much completer,
Stolen looks are nice in chapels,
Stolen, stolen, be your apples.

When to bed the world are bobbing,
Then's the time for orchard-robbing;
Yet the fruit were scarce worth peeling,
Were it not for stealing, stealing.

– Leigh Hunt (1832)

attributed to Paul Nadar
Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt
ca. 1880
albumen print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Adolphe Mouilleron after Edouard Hamman
Andreas Vesalius with corpse on anatomy table
ca. 1856
British Museum

Jacob Joseph Eeckhout
Portrait of Petronella de Lange
oil on panel
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Calvert R. Jones
Temple of Vesta, Rome
salted paper print
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

from Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats

To that high Capital, where kingly Death
Keeps  his pale court in beauty and decay,
He came; and bought, with price of purest breath,
A grave among the eternal. – Come away!
Haste, while the vault of blue Italian day
Is yet his fitting charnel-roof! while still
He lies, as if in dewy sleep he lay;
Awake him not! surely he takes his fill
Of deep and liquid rest, forgetful of all ill.

                      *              *             *

He has outsoar'd  the shadow of our night;
Envy and calumny and hate and pain,
And that unrest which men miscall delight,
Can touch him not and torture not again;
From the contagion of the world's slow stain
He is secure, and now can never mourn
A heart grown cold, a head grown gray in vain;
Nor, when the spirit's self has ceas'd to burn,
With sparkless ashes load an unlamented urn.

– Percy Bysshe Shelley (1821)
George Pieter Westenberg
The Slypsteenen at Amsterdam
oil on canvas
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Gustave Le Gray
The Great Wave, Sète
albumen silver print
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Adriaan de Lelie
Sculpture Gallery (casts from the antique) of the Felix Meritis Society, Amsterdam
oil on canvas
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Caldesi & Co. Bernieri, London
Torso of Nike from the Parthenon (Elgin Marbles)
albumen print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Caldesi & Co. Bernieri, London
Two of the Three Fates from the Parthenon (Elgin Marbles)
albumen print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam