Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Taking a Break

Martinus Rørbye, Scene Near Sorrento Overlooking the Sea, 1835.
(Source: Nivaagaard Collection)


Chris Cooper said...

I found it hard to believe the date, and I thought I could see "1895" in the signature. So I went looking, but sure enough 1835 is right. Just shows that Sorrento sunlight can bring out the proto-Impressionist in an artist!

Anonymous said...


You have used this painting before:

Have a good break!

Two thoughts occur to me.

First, how similar the material world is after two hundred years. Potted plants, painted walls, trees, shadows, scenery of the ocean and bluffs in the distance, a cross, a monk in brown robes with a rope as a belt.

And secondly, how easy it is to visit, in a virtual sense, the site at which the artist painted. I typed "sorrento bay italy" into Google maps, and then I picked some street views near this location until I found one similar to the painting, one by Nicola Petruolo from March 2017 near latitutde, longitude 40.628076, 14.372662 at the Convento Di San Francesco. The same bluffs are obvious in the modern street view as they are in the painting.

Thomas said...

@Chris: I don't know much about art history, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the impressionists were inspired by the sketches of past masters. That is, they sought the freshness of a sketch in their finished work. We find something similar in modernist writing, which sometimes has the feel of "notes", but was never intended to be more "polished".

@Anon: Yes, I always use this picture when signalling a break. It usually captures exactly how feel when I decide to withdraw from discourse. Thanks for that little virtual vacation. It's tempting to buy a ticket and just go looking for the place. But there's a high risk of being disappointed. Sorrento looks like it's a noisy, bustling tourist attraction now.

Chris Cooper said...

@Thomas: "I always use this picture when signalling a break ..."

Oh, I thought you were there!