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Arrangement in grey and black No. 1. The artist's mother

Painting, 1871, 144.3×162.5 cm

Description of the artwork «Arrangement in grey and black No. 1. The artist's mother»

Today "Arrangement in grey and black No. 1"* or, more simply, "The Mother Of Whistler" one of the most recognizable images in the history of art. Her many times copied, quoted and parodied that to miss it is not the slightest possibility. If you have never been to Paris's musée d'orsay, you probably saw with the old lady sported the notorious Mr Bean. If you have not seen "the Mother of Whistler" in albums with reproductions, of course, you met her in the TV series "the Simpsons."

It was mentioned in the Comedy "the Naked gun". She had dedicated their melodies Cole porter, John Lennon and Claude Debussy. Today there is little doubt that James Whistler was a genius. First of all, thanks to this picture.
But in 1871, when it was written "Arrangement in grey and black No. 1", fared differently. A year later Whistler submitted the painting to the exhibition of the Royal Academy of arts in London. This time, Whistler, which contemporaries considered a master of the outrageous, made to the jury, perhaps, his most restrained and realistic painting. And still was rejected: colleagues blame "the Arrangement", for a lack of plot and sluggish palette.

The irony of the situation lay in the fact that these claims sounded to Whistler as praise: he always put form over content and saw to it that the harmony of lines and colours had not violated the despicable plot.

However, there is Whistler lost vigilance: through a sophisticated gray-and-black geometry clearly emerges the story.

Strict line of his mouth. Staying look. Frozen time and the deafening silence. Fifty shades of old age, humility, loneliness – these days, many people interpret the painting as a Manifesto of the late repentant and FILIAL love.

Unmatched in Britain, "Arrangement in grey and black" was warmly received in France. When it was purchased by the Luxembourg Museum, Whistler wrote: "After the painting was done in England, it's like a dream! What a slap in the face of the Academy!". Later the painting was moved to the Louvre, then to musée d'orsay. Alas, until the final triumph of his painting Whistler did not survive. Would have seen "the Simpsons" probably would "slap", "knockout".

* "Arrangement in grey and black No. 2" looks like this.

Author: Andrew Zimoglyadov
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1871

Size: 144.3×162.5 cm

Artwork in selections: 47 selections