We found two notable pieces from the National Galleries of Scotland exhibit showing at San Francisco’s de Young Museum.
The above Lady Agnew of Locknaw by John Singer Sargent is wonderful. A dark-haired beauty stares right at you. The bottom of her gown is painted with long brush strokes, as if it’s out of focus. The bottom of her gown is closer than her face. This short depth-of-field is a photographic technique that brings the viewer’s attention to the subject’s face. The sign for the painting noted that the 27-year-old Lady Agnew was “convalescing from nervous exhaustion”. Perhaps being young, beautiful, rich, and titled was too much for her to handle? 😉
The other notable work is Vermeer’s Christ in the House of Martha and Mary. We wouldn’t have found the painting interesting if it weren’t labeled as being a Vermeer. The head of the seated Mary is nice, especially her head scarf. Much of the rest of the painting seems coarse by comparison. At 1.60 m x 1.42 m, it’s large for a Vermeer. There’s a theory that Vermeer used mirrors to assist his painting. Perhaps Vermeer used this technique paint a small section with Mary and then completed the painting the old-fashioned way.