Saturday, June 28, 2008

16 x 24 Oil on Linen

16 x 24 Oil on Linen

I've always been enchanted by matching portraits. The Wallace Collection has a fine pair by Rembrandt as does the Metropolitan Museum. The Met also has a marvelous portrait of Herman Doomer but the portrait of his wife is far away in the Hermitage Museum. My favorite pair is that of Stephanus Geraerdts and Isabella Coymans by Frans Hals. Each portrait is a masterpiece, together they are stunning. He looks out of the picture and gestures to his left, she looks back at him delighted by the flower he has just given her. He has a knowing smile and a twinkle in his eye, she gazes at him with admiration, each confident of the other's love. Sadly they too are in separate collections. I like to think of my still life objects as my sitters so it was only natural that I do a pair of matching portraits. Bread and Wine are a much beloved couple. They have been painted many times by many artists but, so far as I know, this is the first time they have ever been portrayed separately as a pair. My companion pieces remind me, however, of the lovers in the final scene of the first act of Lucia di Lammermoor. Edgardo and Lucia meet secretly and in a beautiful duet swear their love and exchange rings, but circumstances make their union all but impossible, for she is an Ashton and he a Ravenswood and the two families are feuding. Bread and Wine make a lovely couple but circumstances have made their union all but impossible too. After going out to a gallery together one was purchased without the other. Perhaps one day some industrious curator will reunite the tragic duo. Until then I hope one of them does not go mad.....

1 comment:

dsb said...

Tom, these are gorgeous. But such a sad tale of separation. Just looking at them has made me hunger for lunch. Thanks for showing us.