I’m very happy to conclude this year’s Art for the Month of June with American painter Jennie Brownscombe’s ‘Love’s Young Dream,’ located in the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C.
In this piece a young woman of modest upbringing watches a man on horseback while an older couple—presumably her parents—are seated on the front porch of their home. The mother seems concerned for her daughter, while the father is oblivious, absorbed in his book. The title indicates “dream,” therefore I am to assume she is only an admirer of the distant rider—not his partner. Both her feet are positioned toward us as the rest of her body is turned to watch him, which gives me the impression that she was conversing with mother before suddenly finding herself distracted by the man’s appearance.
At the daughter’s feet a kitten playing with mother’s ball of string, perhaps symbolizing futility in the young woman’s preoccupation with the gentleman. Based on the fallen leaves and appearance of the trees, I would guess this scene is set during autumn, which further suggest unrealized opportunities within the realm of love. Yes, cheerful, I know. That said, Brownscombe’s painting has a sentimental touch, offering hope to the daughter.
I can identify with this painting, though not directly with its theme of unrequited love. Rather I interpret Brownscombe’s narrative as a metaphor for unavailing ambition, which could be applied to many different pursuits in one’s life. The mother seems to understand her daughter’s plight, though I get the impression she will wisely refrain from interfering, allowing her daughter to learn from experience as her inevitable heartbreak unfolds. Such is the case when one takes on a new job, buys property, or takes on any other risky endeavor. Some things are doomed from the start, as you stand there with a pitiful bouquet of weeds as your dream emerges before your eyes only to slowly clip-clops out of vision, but that’s part of the process, I guess.
And on that note, I hope you enjoyed this year’s Month of June selections!
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