The New York Times Globespotters blog points out that the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is having a Fantin-Latour show that reminds the world that he painted more than flowers:
On view through Jan. 11, 2010, the exhibition includes 70 paintings, as well as drawings and prints, that reflect virtually every facet of the artist’s work. The gorgeous flower paintings are there of course — so fresh and delicately painted that you can almost smell the roses — but so are the large-scale group portraits of family members or figure paintings like “The Reading,” which show the artist’s interest in capturing intimate moments of everyday life, in the manner of Vermeer.
The artist’s love of music inspired him to put aside, at least temporarily, the meticulous depiction of everyday life and create a number of imaginative visual adaptations of musical subjects. Taking the works of Brahms, Berlioz, and Wagner as his source, Fantin-Latour created luminous, dreamy and sometimes erotically charged scenes operatic action and dramatic tension.
Among the non-musical allegories is “Immortality,” painted in 1889, in which a winged goddess up in the heavens gingerly sprinkles rosebuds and flower petals which fall from her hands and through the clouds on which she floats, no doubt to land on some deserving mortal on earth. Perhaps Fantin-Latour already knew that he would be best known for his flowers.
Shining a Light on a Lesser-Known Impressionist (Globespotters/NY Times)