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Picturing a World


I spent a semester in France as an undergraduate. A visit to the Cluny that sophomore year fed my interest in the Middle Ages, later my field of specialization in graduate school. When I read that women art students in the 19th C valued the opportunity its enclosed gardens offered them to work outdoors unmolested, I knew I had to send Jeanette there.

Her choice to paint an iris is a thematic refraction of Edward's print and Emily's obsession with flowers. It also reflects real practice. For a quick lesson from James Gurney on painting flowers en plein air, click here.

Hansen’s view of a courtyard outside and an indoor watercolor by Ernest Guilliaud gave me images for seeing the museum with 19th C eyes. The paragraphs devoted to Jeanette's painting indoors were cut in editing, but you can send her there. If you do, make sure to stop by a statue of Mary Magdalene, which Jeanette draws in the deleted passage.
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