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VAN HOLDER Frans"SEATED ELEGANT LADY, 1905"
One cannot but admire the exciting interplay of light on the almost photo-realistic skin of this intriguing woman dressed in a shimmering white gown. It’s silky transparency is reminiscent of the ones found in great classical Italian paintings. Whilst the earthy background is not dark at all, Van Holder still manages to make her skin look very bright. This was of course considered beautiful at the time, but although the harmonious shades are warm, hic at nunc it might come across as if she was cold. Painted at a time interior lighting was rather scarce, it comes across so remarkably bright, it almost seems backlit. At first glance looking very classical, Van Holder does not seem to glorify his subject. His muse seems to be wearing a wedding dress but the painting feels like a modern snapshot of an in-between moment. Perhaps she was resting or getting ready for the ceremony, even asking why the artist would be taking her picture at this instant? What is she holding in her left hand? Were bare shoulders socially accepted in 1905? Very intriguing, almost mysterious. What at first glance seems like a classically beautiful and easy-on-the-eye portrait of a woman at the turn of the twentieth century, is not only fascinating to look at because of its artistic merit but also because it playfully confuses the spectator. Over and over again.
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"SEATED ELEGANT LADY"
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