Thursday, July 16, 2020

Inside/Out brings reproductions to Northville

  Leisure Hours by John Everett Millais
Four reproductions from the Detroit Institute of Arts have been installed in Northville as part of the Inside/Out program. All four of the masterpieces are located with walking distance of the Northville Art House in downtown Northville and will remain on display through October. 
The works on exhibit include the Self Portrait of Vincent van Gogh from 1887. “For want of a better model,” Van Gogh often chose to paint his own portrait. While in Paris between 1886 and 1888, Van Gogh lightened his palette under the influence of the brilliant colors of the impressionists, but he soon reserved the use of such light colors to express particular moods.
Van Gogh's stay in Paris was a relatively happy one, and in this painting, created during the summer of 1887, he portrays himself with an almost light-hearted appearance.
Also on display is a portrait of Sir William Brereton, completed in 1579. Although the artist has not been determined, the viewer is able to learn about the sitter through his elaborate dress and sword, coat of arms, and Latin inscription, which translates as “Picture of William Brereton, a soldier, who founded this house in his 28th year.” Sir William Brereton (1550-1631) was knighted in 1588 and served in the British Parliament between 1597 and 1622.
A work by Jan van Eyck titled Saint Jerome in His Study from 1435 is also among the reproductions on display in Northville.
Delicate and intricate in its execution and rich in its symbolism, this small panel painting attributed to the workshop of Jan van Eyck depicts Saint Jerome, the fourth-century translator of the Bible, reading in his study. According to legend, Jerome extracted a thorn from a lion's paw.
Unknown Artist, English Sir William Brereton
1579, 1579 oil on cradled wood panel
The books and other objects seen in the work relate to the saint's intellectual pursuits and take on symbolic meanings. The hourglass is traditionally equated with the passage of time and human mortality. The glass bottle is undisturbed by the light passing through it just as the virginity of Mary was undisturbed by the Holy Spirit when she conceived Jesus. The jar labeled tyriaca (an antidote for snakebite) surmounted by a pomegranate (a symbol of the resurrection) refers to Christ as the savior of the world. Based on the inscription on the folded letter on the table, it has been suggested that the figure of Saint Jerome is a disguised portrait of Cardinal Niccolò Albergati.
Leisure House by John Everett Millais from 1864 is also on display. The subjects,  Anne and Marion Pender were the daughters of Sir John Pender, a wealthy textile merchant from Glasgow, England. The girls' identical red velvet gowns and plush surroundings convey their affluence and proper Victorian society upbringing, yet one may feel that they have been placed on display much like the two fish in the bowl before them.
In 1948, while a young student at the Royal Academy in London, John Everett Millais co-founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood emphasizing a style of painting characterized by Romantic and Medieval themes with moral undertones, bright colors, and close-knit, detailed compositions over the classicizing style taught at the academy. However, by the mid-1850s, Millais was moving away from the Pre-Raphaelite style to develop a new form of realism in his art. Leisure Hours was painted a year after he was elected to be a full member of the Royal Academy.