A Dash of Art History

Large (Wikimedia)
I have, dear reader, taken ill. Not horribly ill, mind—though this cold is ghastly—but ill enough that I feel perfectly entitled to grossly exaggerate my condition.
Thus, I present to you: a long weekend of sick people.
Today we have Félix Vallotten’s The Patient, painted in 1892.
The Musée d’Orsay writes that Vallotten’s paintings are “all imbued with an enigmatic strangeness by his smooth, detached style with its refined palette, cut-out compositions and bold framings.”
And there is something oddly alien about the composition of this otherwise mundane scene.
Perhaps it’s the gaze of the maid, arrested by something behind the canvas.
Or maybe the oddly static way she stands, as compared to the recent movement evident in the patient’s clothes and shoulders as she sits up.
The slightly contracted perspective (best seen, perhaps, in the patterns of the colorful oilcloth on the floor) serves to close off the end of the room and push it farther into our space as viewers.
Even the reduced colors—mostly red, green, black and white—contribute to the sense of incongruity.

Large (Wikimedia)

I have, dear reader, taken ill. Not horribly ill, mind—though this cold is ghastly—but ill enough that I feel perfectly entitled to grossly exaggerate my condition.

Thus, I present to you: a long weekend of sick people.

Today we have Félix Vallotten’s The Patient, painted in 1892.

The Musée d’Orsay writes that Vallotten’s paintings are “all imbued with an enigmatic strangeness by his smooth, detached style with its refined palette, cut-out compositions and bold framings.”

And there is something oddly alien about the composition of this otherwise mundane scene.

Perhaps it’s the gaze of the maid, arrested by something behind the canvas.

Or maybe the oddly static way she stands, as compared to the recent movement evident in the patient’s clothes and shoulders as she sits up.

The slightly contracted perspective (best seen, perhaps, in the patterns of the colorful oilcloth on the floor) serves to close off the end of the room and push it farther into our space as viewers.

Even the reduced colors—mostly red, green, black and white—contribute to the sense of incongruity.

  • 28 February 2014
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