Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example! Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
This painting is really pretty.
It's a very "pretty" picture for sure, and reflective of traditional tastes at the time. Daniel Ridgway Knight was born in Philadelphia and studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He relocated to France in the early 1870s and lived there as an expatriate. He was influenced by French artists like Jules Breton who favored idyllic scenes of figures in pastoral landscapes. He paid close attention to detail and lighting effects, but he used models and ignored the harsher realities of agricultural life.
Can you tell me about this? It looks neo-classical.
It's not neo-classical but it is definitely an academic work of art, based on traditions of study in established academies. The artist, Daniel Ridgway Knight trained in Paris, and later in his career began to focus on pensive, single-figure subjects.
The quality of light in this painting is amazing. Are there any other paintings in the museum with such realistic light depicted?
I agree, the artist rendered the light and atmosphere so beautifully. He was strongly influenced by French academic painters of the mid-19th century, including Jules Breton and Jules Bastien-LePage. We do have works by Breton hanging in the European Paintings galleries on the third floor of the Museum.
Closer to where you are, check out the landscape scenes by George Inness. He thought a lot about light in his work, although his results are different from Knight's.
I love this one. Any fun facts?
The artist was an American living in France. He had a country home with a scenic view of the Seine river, which may be the background we see here. He was trained in the French academic style, which prized fine detail, a very polished/finished appearance, and idealization of nature and people.
He actually hired models to pose for him and gave them rustic-looking costumes to wear rather than depicting real country-folk. That may be why the young woman looks so fresh and untouched by the elements.
That must be why she looks so elegant despite the ragged clothes.
And here's a fun fact: the previous owner of this painting was Abraham Abraham (same first and last names!), one of the founders of the department store Abraham & Straus.