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Words and Images: Readings on Art 2018

A man sitting in a tall, upholstered armchair reads a newspaper in this vertical portrait painting. The man and the room in which he sits is loosely painted with bold, visible strokes throughout. He holds the paper close to his face, and the top edge falls over so we can read the title, “L’EVENEMENT.” He has a light, olive-toned complexion, and his white hair peeks from under a close-fitting black cap. He wears a high-necked white shirt under a chocolate-brown jacket, steel-gray trousers, white socks, and camel-brown shoes. The fabric on the chair is painted with broad brushstrokes to create a loose floral pattern on a white background. The man and chair are outlined in black. The man sits in the corner of a room with a closed door behind him to our right. Hanging on the wall over his head, and partially obscured by it, is a small, possibly unframed, still life painting with what could be kelly-green fruit and a royal-blue cup against a black background.

Paul Cézanne, The Artist's Father, Reading "L'Événement", 1866, oil on canvas, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, 1970.5.1

Join us for a lecture and discussion of works in the permanent collection revealed through art history and suggested online readings. Words and Images: Readings on Art (formerly known as Food for Thought) is a program for adults led by Gallery staff. Each session explores a different topic related to art history, museum studies, or studio art.

This program meets in the West Building Lecture Hall and is free and open to the public. No advance registration is required. Check the Gallery’s website ( for information on topics, speakers, dates, and times.

Upcoming Discussions

Shown from the waist up, a pale-skinned woman wearing a jeweled dress faces our left in profile in this vertical portrait painting. She looks into the distance with the light brown eye we can see, under a faint, arched brow. She has a petite nose, smooth, lightly flushed cheeks, and her peach-colored lips are closed. Her rust-brown gown is trimmed with wide, mustard-yellow panels studded with pearls, rubies, and sapphires along the front of the bodice and down the sleeve we can see. The elbow of that sleeve, near the bottom edge of the painting, is gathered in intricate, narrow pleats. White fabric billows out from the seam where the sleeve meets her shoulder, and a wide scarlet-red belt bordered with pearls wraps around her waist. Her blond hair is pulled back and coiled into a horn over her ear. Her head is covered with a translucent white veil that falls in deep folds to her shoulder. Another sheer veil layered over the first sweeps down over the high hairline of her forehead. A double strand of white pearls encircles her neck above the white collar of her gown. A marine-blue cloth with an olive-green lining nearly fills the background beyond her, but a sliver of a landscape view can be seen along the left edge of the composition. The window opens onto a town with coral-red city walls in front of blue and gray buildings. Hazy blue mountains line the horizon in the deep distance, and the sky above deepens from pale, ice blue over the mountains to topaz blue across the top.

Ercole de' Roberti, Ginevra Bentivoglio, c. 1474/1477, tempera on poplar panel, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1939.1.220

Portraits of Women in Renaissance Art
Instructor: Lorena Bradford
April 18 and 25 at 11:00 (90 min.)
West Building Lecture Hall

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Two Girls under an Umbrella, 19101910

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Two Girls under an Umbrella, 1910, oil on canvas, Collection of Arnold and Joan Saltzman, 1992.58.1

Degenerate Art
Instructor: David Gariff
May 4 and 10 at 1:00 (90 min.)
West Building Lecture Hall

View all works of the permanent collection that are on display.