mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
 In 1772, Charles Willson Peale's daughter Margaret died of smallpox.  He painted a memorial portrait of her corpse lying on a pillow, prepared for burial.   In 1776 Peale expanded the portrait, adding his wife, Rachel, weeping over the baby.   The revised portrait was called "Mrs. Peale lamenting the death of her child", or alternatively "Rachel Weeping", an allusion to Matthew 2:18: "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."   

From the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which now owns the work:

 In 1782 Peale advertised Mrs. Peale Lamenting the Death of Her Child as a feature of his new painting room but sequestered it behind a curtain with the warning: "Before you draw this curtain Consider whether you will afflict a Mother or Father who has lost a Child."


Date: 2017-05-20 05:07 pm (UTC)
lexin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lexin
Strange painting - did you notice how the child's arms are tied?

Date: 2017-05-20 05:24 pm (UTC)
aella_irene: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aella_irene
I presume that's for roughly the same reason they used to (and may still) tie jaws shut for viewings

Date: 2017-05-20 05:28 pm (UTC)
lexin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lexin
I assumed so, too.

Date: 2017-05-20 05:46 pm (UTC)
lexin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lexin
That colouring is odd, but I've seen old 'memento mori' photos which show it, too. Never seen a memento mori photo which showed those ties, though I'd imagine they are there to keep the arms in place rather than having them flop down to the sides.

Date: 2017-05-20 07:35 pm (UTC)
sovay: (I Claudius)
From: [personal profile] sovay
I thiiiiink those ties are referred to in A Christmas Carol? Maybe?

Marley has a kerchief tied under his chin to keep his mouth closed (when he takes it off, his jaw drops sickeningly and Scrooge not inappropriately freaks out); I don't remember any bindings on his arms or body beyond the famous chain he forged in life.
Edited Date: 2017-05-20 07:36 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-20 05:08 pm (UTC)
laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)
From: [personal profile] laurashapiro

Date: 2017-05-20 07:30 pm (UTC)
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
From: [personal profile] sovay
He painted a memorial portrait of her corpse lying on a pillow, prepared for burial.

What interests me most about the portrait is that it clearly is of a corpse. There is no effort to depict Margaret as "just sleeping," as in a contemporary open-casket funeral. Her arms are bound in place; her jaw is tied up to prevent her mouth from dropping open. Her skin color is sallow and decomposing. She doesn't look like she might open her eyes at any second. She looks like she'll be buried soon. (As a result, I find it less disturbing than the artificial sleep of contemporary open-casket funerals, but I get how it would be upsetting to other people, especially people at the time who had seen their own children in similar states.)

Date: 2017-05-20 07:38 pm (UTC)
recessional: bare-footed person in jeans walks on log (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
That's honestly very thoughtful of him.

Also that painting is oddly affecting - like moreso than I'd expect it to be. Hmm.

Date: 2017-05-21 02:07 am (UTC)
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)
From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid
And they all act like content warnings are a new thing...

Date: 2017-05-21 04:07 am (UTC)
nineweaving: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nineweaving
No sign of smallpox, though.


Date: 2017-05-21 05:52 am (UTC)
athenais: (Default)
From: [personal profile] athenais
Now I am super creeped out by this painting which I have seen before more than once.
Edited Date: 2017-05-21 06:00 am (UTC)


mme_hardy: White rose (Default)

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