Monday, December 8, 2008
The Art of Love
Ovid’s got nothing on this pair. Many years of love and laughter to Lisa and Paul (above). Annie and I attended their beautiful wedding at the majestic Glen Foerd Mansion just north of Philadelphia along the Delaware River. From the elegant ceremony to the great food to the riotous dancing, it was a night to remember for everyone. (Annie thinks Lisa’s a genius for circumventing the whole “who’s going to sit with whom” drama of a seating arrangement by letting people sit wherever and with whomever they wanted.)
An added delight for me was the chance to see the mansion’s art gallery. Annie and I made our way upstairs to the gallery during the cocktail hour and the first thing that caught my eye was a large portrait centered on the far wall. I immediately said to Annie, “That’s a Lawrence!” And it was by Sir Thomas Lawrence, one of my favorite portraitists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. (I wasn’t allowed to take photos in the gallery, but a photo appears here. The Lawrence is the large full-figure portrait at the end of the hall flanked by two smaller portraits.) In terms of composition and style, the Glen Foerd portrait reminded me of Lawrence’s portrait of Elizabeth Farren at the Met, but this portrait didn’t have the same liveliness. Lawrence at his best paints eyes with a startling energy and life, but these were a little lifeless, leading me to suspect that it was a later, lesser work, but still interesting. Surrounding the Lawrence were examples of the work of all the other great British portraitists of the period: Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, and Allan Ramsey (a portrait of Queen Charlotte herself). The Big Four of the time of King George III were all there.
Annie and I then toured the room and saw a Rembrandt (or at least attributed to the school of Rembrandt), a Rubens, an early Van Gogh from the early The Potato Eaters period, and a Monet landscape. My head was still spinning as Annie and I made our way down the stairs for the toasts and post-cocktail hour festivities.
So, once again, all the best, Lisa and Paul, and thanks for giving us a night out without Alex and a chance to see the beauty of the past as well as the beginning of your beautiful future together. Cheers!