Aldrichimica Acta

Index of Paintings Clues

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Painting Clues

Year Vol. No. Acta Cover Painter Painting Title Painting Clues
2014 47 2 Wilson, Richard Lake Albano
(Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.)
A favorite setting for a number of landscape artists of the 18th and 19th centuries, actual Lake Albano is a small crater lake located in the Alban Hills a short distance southeast of Rome, Italy.  In addition to Wilson, George Innes (Lake Albano, Sunset), Robert Freebairn (View of Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo), Camille Corot (Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo), and Joseph Wright of Derby (Lake Albano), among others, have painted different views of Lake Albano and its immediate surroundings.
2014 47 1 Crome,
Moonlight on the Yare (Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.) John Crome seems to have been influenced by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Dutch and English masters. It would be a useful exercise to compare Moonlight on the Yare with landscapes by Hobbema (A View on a High Road and A Farm in the Sunlight), Gainsborough (View in Suffolk), Van der Neer (Moonlit Landscape with Bridge), Wilson (Solitude), and Rembrandt (The Mill). It would also be worthwhile to compare Moonlight on the Yare with a number of landscapes of the Norwich area by Crome’s longtime artist friend, brother-in-law, and fellow Norwich resident, Robert Ladbrooke.
2013 46 3 Cole, Thomas
A View of the Mountain Pass Called the Notch of the White Mountains (Crawford Notch)
In 1826, a storm caused a rock slide at Crawford Notch that killed an entire family of nine and brought national attention to the notch. The tragedy and the idyllic beauty of the surrounding area may have inspired Cole to paint this landscape. Cole, who subscribed to the romantic notion that unspoiled nature is a reflection of God’s presence and that the destruction of virgin forests is an outrageous violation of His will, has included elements in this painting that hint at his message: serene, breathtaking beauty of the area, human activity that is beginning to spoil this beauty, and gathering storm clouds that foreshadow the impending catastrophe.
2013 46 2 Homer, Winslow Breezing Up (A Fair Wind) Artists have often incorporated various objects in their compositions as symbols of human emotions or as commentary about the human existence or a human endeavor: a skull, a dead fish, a dove, etc.  Here, it is believed that Homer depicted an anchor lying on the front and starboard side of the boat as a symbol of his hope in the future of the young country that had just emerged from a devastating civil war and that was celebrating its centennial in the year in which this painting was completed and first exhibited.
2013 46 1 Van Gogh, Vincent Farmhouse in Provence The reason for van Gogh’s fascination with the color yellow—evident in many of his paintings—has been the subject of much speculation. While some believe it was due to his prolonged use of absinthe, which contains traces of thujone (see Aldrich products 89231 and 89230), others attribute it to the treatment with digitalis (see Sigma product D5878, D6003, or C9140) that he received for his epileptic condition. Do you believe either explanation? Let us know your thoughts on this.