Happy birthday to Edward Hicks (1780–1849). A sign painter “called” to preaching, Hicks repeatedly expressed through his paintings his Quaker belief in mankind’s ability to live together harmoniously. In a few cases Hicks focused entirely on William Penn and his party under the famous Treaty Elm, as seen here. For these works Hicks followed the composition of an engraving based on Benjamin West’s famous 1772 depiction of the event. These treaty scenes, sometimes accompanied by the artist’s inscription proclaiming Penn’s legendary meeting as “The foundation of Religious and Civil Liberty, in the U.S. of America,” reiterate the message of tolerance borne by all his Peaceable Kingdom paintings. This original veneered frame still bears its gilt-lettered title, testifying to Hicks’s professional skill as a sign painter.
Happy birthday to Francisco de Goya (1746–1828), born on this day in 1746 in Fuendetodos, Spain. This charming early work, “The Seesaw,” was part of a set of royal tapestries commissioned by Charles IV. This study gives a taste of the Rococo gaiety of the period in its humorous subject of children at play, some triumphant and some in tears, and pastel color palette. The work also foreshadows the dark paintings Goya would later be known for, in the developing storm in the background. More works by the artist here.
“The Seesaw,” 1791–92, by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
You know it’s spring when, just after sunset, the refrigerator constellation rises in the western sky.
(But seriously, remember that our perspective on the stars is at the same time wonderfully unique but not at all special, and the stellar stories that we write are products not only of our imaginations, but also our brain’s relentless desire to recognize patterns in random assortments of far away dots)
I live in the Southern Hemisphere but what the heck, I love this.