National Gallery of Art Exhibit: "The Darker Side of Light: Arts Of Privacy, 1850-1900"
"The Darker Side of Light: Arts of Privacy, 1850-1900" which opened at the National Gallery of Art in October will be running until the middle of January. Then it will move to Chicago in February where it will run through June. The exhibit had appeared in Los Angeles, prior to arriving in Washington, DC.
The exhibition highlights prints and drawings emphasizing the idea of privacy both as a subject for art and a model for individual collectors in contrast to the more public focus of the Impressionist aesthetic which arguably dominated the period. The fact that most of the work is in black and white as opposed to the vibrant color characteristic of Impressionism adds another layer of meaning to the adjective "darker."
There is a ten minute video which gives a sweeping overview of the work in the exhibition available at the National Gallery web site. It is also available as a podcast at iTunes. While the narration provided by curator, Peter Parshall, is careful to develop the theme of "interiority" which is the exhibition's focus, it is not always as informative about the artists or the specific work. Artists are not always identified, and since many of them are not very well known, some discussion of their lives would have been useful for the less knowledgeable among us. Moreover, he doesn't always identify the genre of the work shown either. What he does provide, and provide very effectively, is a nice explanation of the work's relationship to the theme of the exhibition. His descriptions of the content of the piece are especially helpful for viewers watching on the small iPod screen, where the images are sometimes not as clear as they might be.Continued on the next page