Sunday, September 13, 2015


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La Lecture, in Dutch/Flemish De Lezing (The Reading), a work by Théo Van Rysselberghe, a Belgian neo-impressionist painter. Although a Fleming by birth, he was francophone since he grew up in the French-speaking bourgeois milieu in Ghent. Van Rysselberghe was one of the founding members of Les XX (The Twenty), a Belgian avant garde group of twenty painters, sculptors and designers (with the exception of a Greek and a Spaniard), active between 1883 and 1893.

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The German, a work by contemporary Belgian painter Michaël Borremans.

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Sophie Gray, a portrait by Sir John Everett Millais, arguably the most important of the Pre-Raphaelites. Sophie was the sister of Millais' wife Effie and would know a tragic fate. Her husband was James Caird, for whom the sloop was named with which Shackleton, with his crew, undertook the dangerous voyage from their stricken vessel in the ice of Antarctica to South Georgia.

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Echo and Narcissus, a 1903 work by John William Waterhouse, who was essentially a late Pre-Raphaelite but with impressionist influences. It's a depiction of a scene from the Roman poet Ovid's poem of the same title, as featured in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Echo was a nymph who, because she chatted incessantly, was punished by a goddess with a curse compelling her to repeat the words of others. She fell in love with Narcissus, the very handsome son of the River God Cephisus and the nymph Liriope, and tried to get his attention by repeating Narcissus' words. He declined her advances however, and as he passed a stream, he fell in love with his own reflection. As he thought it was a nymph, he in vain courted his own image until he wasted away from starvation and unrequited love, transforming in the flower that bears his name. As for Echo, she too pined away until all that remained was her voice.

Good night.


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