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Picturing a World

Monet’s Gare Saint-Lazare

A tip from James Gurney on the release of high-resolution images by the Chicago Art Institute led me back to this 1877 painting by Monet. It was in my mind when I wrote Jeanette and Effie’s arrival in Paris in 1878. Going to the high-res image was like arriving with them in Paris all over again—the same sense of being engulfed by the station. With an enlargement, I noticed the overhead wires for the first time; and when I enlarged further, I could see brushstrokes and the support beneath. Details of the station and a reminder of the artist at work—what marvels are available on line to stimulate imagination! Admittedly, it would be even better to go to Paris or Chicago; but in these days when we should all strictly limit our air travel to lessen our carbon footprint, I’ll settle for such virtual tours.

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