Like many Americans of his generation, Daniel Ridgway Knight sought his academic training in Paris, where he remained as an expatriate from 1873. The Well, which is typical of the sentimentalized peasant subjects that occupied French-trained Americans and pleased their audiences at home, demonstrates the detailed character of Knight’s early work. In keeping with the rigorous French academic method, he executed extensive preparatory subjects prior to undertaking the finished painting. After completing numerous delicate preliminary drawings, Knight transcribed the drawing to his canvas, carefully plotting the compositional lines and fine details that he would follow precisely with his brush. This “underdrawing,” beneath the paint layer, is visible with the use of infrared photography.
- Artist: Daniel Ridgway Knight, American, 1839-1924
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dates: 1880
- Dimensions: 39 5/16 x 28 15/16 in. (99.9 x 73.5 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: Signed lower left: "D. Ridgway Knight· / Paris 1880"
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
- Accession Number: 41.980.62
- Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William E. S. Griswold
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Daniel Ridgway Knight (American, 1839-1924). The Well, 1880. Oil on canvas, 39 5/16 x 28 15/16 in. (99.9 x 73.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William E. S. Griswold, 41.980.62
- Record Completeness: Best (85%)