Etched in Stone

The Stone House in Hurley was a Bed and Breakfast in a 300 year old Dutch estate, built sometime between 1705 and 1720, when New York was still New Amsterdam. There are more Dutch stone houses in Hurley, a village founded in 1662 as Nieuw Dorp by Dutch and Huguenots from Wiltwyck (now Kingston), burned to the ground by Esopus Natives, angry because they hadn’t been reimbursed for their lands, only to be rebuilt and remain Dutch until it was transferred to the English in 1664. And although its name was changed to Hurley, it remained Dutch in language and architecture. Our room was an homage to Vermeer’s most famous painting ”Girl with a Pearl Earring”, created around that time (c. 1665).

Our host was eagerly waiting to show us to the ”Girl with a Pearl Earring” – but only after we’d paid our dues!

The Stone House, Hurley, N.Y.

It has since been converted to a botanical perfume distillery, adding more aroma to its long history.

July 27th, 2019

BeWILDered

You just have to wonder: which part in this painting is responsible for the lions’ bewildered expressions? Is it the shock of the nude? The shrill tone of the flute? Am I, the spectator, that scary?

The Dream, 1910 || Henri Rousseau || Oil on canvas

“Entirely self-taught, Henri Rousseau worked a day job as a customs inspector until, around 1885, he retired on a tiny pension to pursue a career as an artist. Without leaving his native France, he made numerous paintings of fantastical jungle landscapes, like the one that fills The Dream.

Living in Paris, he had ready access to images of faraway people and places through popular literature, world expositions, museums, and the Paris Zoo. His visits to the city’s natural history museum and to Jardin des plantes (a combined zoo and botanical garden) inspired the lush jungle, wild animals, and mysterious horn player featured in The Dream. “When I am in these hothouses and see the strange plants from exotic lands, it seems to me that I am entering a dream,” he once said.

The nude woman reclining on a sofa seems to have been lifted from a Paris living room and grafted into this moonlit jungle scene. Her incongruous presence heightens its dreamlike quality and suggests that perhaps the jungle is a projection of her mind, much as it is a projection of Rousseau’s imagination.” [source: MoMA]

June 16th, 2019