POTD: Whistler's Father

Whistler’s Father Budapest, Hungary 2011

The genesis of the title should be obvious, but just in case it’s not, here’s the inspiration:

Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (a.k.a. Whistler’s Mother) James McNeill Whistler 1871

I’ve seen Whistler’s actual painting at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. I really like the colors in this painting but what I find really interesting about it is the sliver of a frame and white mat in the upper right hand corner of the painting. It’s the kind of seemingly extraneous thing you’d see by accident in a photograph (at least until Photoshop made such things easy to remove), but which painter’s would just choose not to include. So I have to wonder why Whistler bothered to actually paint it in. Perhaps it provides just the balance or tension the composition needs, without which it would fail to please; but you couldn’t prove it by me.  ]]>

4 thoughts on “POTD: Whistler's Father”

  1. For me, the little bit of frame and matting are the perfect balance to the one that is already there. Without it, I would feel like I was listing to the left! 🙂 What a genius!
    I like your Whistler’s Father photo. It inspires a peaceful, thoughtful feeling – more than the Whistler’s Mother painting does.

  2. Interesting observation about that piece of frame in the painting. One could say that the themostat? on the left wall in your photo serves a similar purpose. It connects to the spotlight in the back/distance and helps reinforce a sense of depth by calling our visual attention to the first/front layer of the image. It’s rectangular shape (albeit horizontal) also echoes the vertical frame in the distance.
    Kathy

    1. Interesting point about the thermostat Kathy. I don’t always look at photos or paintings that analytically but it’s kind of fun (and informative) to explore how various compositional elements either add to or distract from a composition.

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