An Object of Contemplation


This picture was inspired by an ancient Greek vase in an exhibition of classical antiquities that came to the Cheney Cowles Museum from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. At the museum I did a little drawing (see below), which was my only visual resource for the vase. The painting is one of my personal favorites and aspires to embody something of my aesthetic philosophy, that works of fine art are “objects of contemplation.”



3 comments on “An Object of Contemplation

  1. Magnifique. Was Beethoven or Debussy playing in the bakcground?

  2. Melville Holmes says:

    Thank you for commenting! I don’t associate this one with any particular music, except that in this instance it was probably more Handel, Bach, Scarlatti, Rameau, and Couperain. The Rationalism of the 18th Century. Earlier than Beethoven or Debussey . . .

    The picture is about the delight of aesthitics in the restrained, classical sense. The vase is the object. The book refers to knowledge and what might be written about a work of art, the magnifying glass referring to scholarship, e.g., Let’s find out for sure about what this thing is. The glass with probably some semil-sparkling wine like a Riesling, not too bubbly or heady, is about the pleasure that can come from a well crfted shape. At least this one I found so.

  3. Kathy Pinkerton says:

    “Objects of Contemplation” is a thought provoking still life. What fascinates me is the “reflection” through the wine glass and magnifying glass that stimulates mental reflection as well. The painting pulls me into it’s plane of thought. Masterful. Thank you for directing me to this web site.

    Kathy Pinkerton

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