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Pierre-Victor Galland - The Bar at Maxim's (1906)





William Henry Midwood - Rustic Courtship (1865)




For today's December Double I've chosen 'The Bar at Maxim's' by French painter Pierre-Victor Galland and 'Rustic Courtship' by English painter William Henry Midwood. I feel these these works provide a neat parallel, showing people from two very different walks of life as they pursue the companionship of another, and they both seem to suggest that our subjects' intentions might be more lustful than romantic--especially 'Rustic Courtship,' wherein our rural woman sits seductively beside her spinning wheel. Growl!

What appeals to me most about 'Bar at Maxim's' is Galland's choice of perspective, which leads the eye directly to the woman's body as she reclines against the bar. Her pink dress, comfortably hugging her figure, definitely stands out against the yellow cast of light which dominates the rest of the interior. The arrangement of this scene is fantastic, providing a real sense of the busy environment while maintaining interest on our two subjects in the foreground. I am too presume that these two are unacquainted, in which case the man has obviously approaching the alluring woman at the bar. I'm sure some readers can elaborate more on this scene, but neverless she's not the type of woman one would take home to their mother.

As mentioned earlier, I feel that Midwood's 'Rustic Courtship' has a cheeky quality that's worth discussion. However subtle, this seemingly quaint scene is not without a sense of humor. Sitting in a relaxed pose beside her spinning wheel, the woman is clearly in command, staring outward at the viewer with a stern, confident expression while the man appears to be signalling for her attention. Good luck to him.

Not to my surprise, many other painters have worked with this theme of "Rustic Courtship," creating works which could be described as far less subtle than Midwood's painting here. Interesting.
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