National Arts and Humanities Month~ October 27

Knitting in the Library by Mary Cassatt

c.1881 / Softground etching and aquatint / Various collections, incl. Cleveland Museum of Art, OH

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Working drawing for the print, from the Cleveland Museum of Art:

National Arts and Humanities Month~ October 22

Portrait of Yaya by James “Yaya” Hough

2015 / Acrylic on parachute cloth / 60″x35 1/2″x6″ / Collection Russell Craig

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November 21, 2019: James ‘Yaya’ Hough Named Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Artist-in-Residence

National Arts and Humanities Month~ October 16

Isabella and the Pot of Basil by John White Alexander

Then in a silken scarf,—sweet with the dews
Of precious flowers pluck’d in Araby,
And divine liquids come with odorous ooze
Through the cold serpent pipe refreshfully,—
She wrapp’d it up; and for its tomb did choose
A garden-pot, wherein she laid it by,
And cover’d it with mould, and o’er it set
Sweet Basil, which her tears kept ever wet.

1897 / Oil on canvas / 75 5/8″x36 1/8″ / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Isabella, or The Pot of Basil was a poem written in 1820 by the English poet John Keats, who borrowed his narrative from the Italian Renaissance poet Giovanni Boccaccio. Isabella was a Florentine merchant’s beautiful daughter whose ambitious brothers disapproved of her romance with the handsome but humbly born Lorenzo, their father’s business manager. The brothers murdered Lorenzo and told their sister that he had traveled abroad. The distraught Isabella began to decline, wasting away from grief and sadness. She saw the crime in a dream and then went to find her lover’s body in the forest. Taking Lorenzo’s head, she bathed it with her tears and finally hid it in a pot in which she planted sweet basil, a plant associated with lovers.

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