Saturday, September 26, 2015

Play It Again, Toads!

Val d'Aosta (A Stream over Rocks), 1907-8 John Singer Sargent Oil on Canvas
This landscape painting is set in Val d'Aosta, in the Alps bordering Italy and Switzerland, where the London-based American portrait painter John Singer Sargent often made summer visits.  Here, Sargent characteristically composed a view that revealed his immediate experience of the place, foregoing an expansive mountain vista in favor of the running brook at his feet.  Inspired by Impressionist landscape painting and especially the work of Claude Monet, this horizonless view verges on two dimensional pattern, owing to Sargent's emphasis on the effects of brilliant light on moving water.

Welcome to the 21st Play it Again, Toads! where archived challenges of this Imaginary Garden come to life again.  Have fun exploring the archived challenges from the sidebar (2011-2015) or choose one from three I've highlighted below.

The photos are available to use with this Play it Again challenge, but not required.   I took these photos while visiting the Brooklyn Museum.  I have included information beneath each painting as I find it interesting and I hope you do as well.

Please submit an original poem and link your specific post to Mr. Linky below and be sure to make it clear which challenge you are resurrecting by including a link.

As always, please be neighborly and visit the other wonderful poets.

1)  Imagined by Kerry - Feature Artist Kelly Letky

2)  Ella's Edge - Fashion

3)  A Word with Laurie - Allegro: Eight Lines, One Minute!

A Ride for Liberty-The Fugitive Slaves, Eastman Johnson, 1862  oil/paperboard
In this powerful simplified composition, Eastman Johnson portrayed a family of fugitive slaves charging for the safety of Union lines in the dull light of dawn.  The absence of white figures in this liberation subject makes it virtually unique in art of the period - these African Americans are independent agents of their own freedom.  Johnson claimed to have based the painting on an actual event he witnessed near the Manassas, Virginia, battlefield on March 2, 1862, just days before the Confederate stronghold was ceded to Union forces.

Following is a poem written by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (African-American poet) that was posted with Eastman Johnson's painting:

"Eliza Harris"
In agony close to her bosom she press'd
The life of her heart, the child of her breast: -
Oh! love from its tenderness gathering might,
Had strengthen'd her soul for the dangers of flight.
But she's free! - yes, free from the land where the slave
From the hand of oppression must rest in the grave;
Where bondage and torture, where scourges and chains
Have placed on our banner indelible stains.

View of Brooklyn Bridge, Samuel Halpert (1884-1930) (no date) oil on canvas
Perhaps no painting is more closely identified with the Museum's American art collection than this scene of what was a portion of downtown Brooklyn in 1820 - a work that was purchased for the fledgling Brooklyn Institute (the museum's forerunner) in 1846.  Painted from the vantage point of the artist's second-story window facing Front Street ... at the heart of the image was the "old-fashioned" Dutch-style barnyard of Abiel Titus - a feature that greatly contrasted with the elegant stone row-houses that were included at the left of the scene before the painting was damaged by fire in 1881.  

Ram's Head, White Hollyhock -Hills, Georgia O'Keeffe, 1935, oil on canvas
"I had looked out on the hills for weeks and painted them again and again - had climbed and ridden over them - so beautifully soft, so difficult...  I could see them - farther away - from my window in the rain.  So I tried again.  They seemed right with the Ram's head.  I don't remember where I picked up the head - or the hollyhock.  Flowers were planted among the vegetables in the garden between the house and the hills and I probably picked the hollyhock one day as I walked past.  My paintings sometimes grow by pieces from what's around."  George O'Keeffe

The Shepherdess, Albert Pinkham Ryder, 1880's, oil on wood
Often described as visionary or proto-modernist, Albert Pinkham Ryder painted small works that were mysterious in feeling, owing to his often-vague description of form, use of a dark or limited palette, and evocation of uncertain moods.  In "The Shepherdess", Ryder was most likely inspired by similar subjects by the French artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot.

The Waste of Waters is Their Field, Albert Pinkham Ryder, 1880's, oil on panel
Albert Pinkham Ryder was regarded as a visionary and experimental painter among Centennial-era artists.  He often addressed the theme of human destiny, as played out in literature or the Bible, but he rendered his subjects with highly simplified or expressively exaggerated forms and densely textured surfaces that challenged the visual expectations of his audience.  Ryder based this seascape on a poem by the Englishman Robert Southey that recounted the ocean voyage of a medieval king to the New World:  Day after day, day after same day... a weary waste of waters!"

The complete poem by Robert Southey can be found at: Poetry Nook.


Outlawyer said...

Thank you for the beautiful pictures, Margaret, and the information re the artists. I am a little sick today, so don't know what I can do. But will think about it. k.

brudberg said...

Such wonderful paintings.. I did not use any of them but took the 1. Minute challenge... Just came from watching "Crazy for you", so I'm in a good mood.

Hannah said...

Thank you, for sharing your art, Margaret and for bringing links to muse upon!

Margaret said...

I have finally written a poem after being absent for several weeks. We sold our house and I downsized by half. Temporarily renting a home now and will move again in June 2016 to the mountains I love.

Anyway, glad be back here and with all of you.

Fireblossom said...

Welcome back, Margaret.

Margaret said...

Thank you, Shay. I have truly missed you all. Today my family has been informed I am not to be bothered as I have missed my poetry. They are all too happy to oblige as I have been quite the task master lately administering chores. Today we all have a free day as most of the move has been done. :)

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Writing at a gallop, what fun! Yes, I did the 'allegro' prompt – and only afterwards chose the wonderful O'Keeffe painting to go with it. (Perhaps it can elevate the poem!)

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

PS I love the allegro and think it should become a recognised form, attributed to Laurie. I am certainly going to adopt it as such!

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Couldn't resist trying a second!

Margaret said...

Everyone is free to do more than one. The more the merrier.

Sumana Roy said...

beautiful photos...thanks for the challenge..

Kerry O'Connor said...

I love your pictures and words, Margaret. Thank you so much for a most informative post. I am afraid I have cheated a bit because I was so taken with the post itself, I forgot to choose a past challenge. I hope that's okay. Now, at last, I can enjoy reading all the other poems.

Blogoratti said...

What wonderful thoughts and imagery. Greetings to you.

Margaret said...

Who am I to slap Kerry's hand. (I presume even Fireblossom couldn't ;) I give you free reign, Kerry :)

Margaret said...

I also know, Kerry, there have been plenty challenges where we were to search quotes and use as inspiration (so you are safe :)

Susie Clevenger said...

Amazing art and information Margaret. I chose one of the challenges, but I will visit your art at a later date for inspiration.

Other Mary said...

Thank you Margaret. It's always a treat to look back at some previous challenges (and I've usually missed at least one of them!).

Bekkie Sanchez said...

What fun thanks for visiting my take! Most of you did the Allegro which was fun to read! Glad you liked my Seuss see you soon!