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Picturing a World

Mound of Butter

A couple of days ago, I stumbled across this painting by Antoine Vollon, which brought to mind the night that Jeanette proposes to Amy and Sonja, “You know what we should do? Set up studies from a dairy shop: eggs, those big mounds of butter, and round cheeses—think of all the fat shapes.”

Diaries and letters show that 19th C art students were always setting up technical exercises for themselves. Cubes, spheres, and cones were basic shapes that anyone learning to draw had to master as the elements of more complex and irregular natural objects. It was great fun, therefore, to come across Vollon’s study of a cone of butter and oval eggs painted at just the right period.

For Wikipedia Commons images relating to Vollon, click here.

To read what poet Mark Doty has to say about Vollon’s butter, click here.

For Childe Hassam’s painting of a Parisian Dairy Store, click here.
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