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One among the pictures which drew attention in the Philadelphia museum collection of art works before 1900’s was the painting by Antonio Mancini titled Boy with toy soldiers. It is an art which was created upon the inspiration generated by the Russo- Turkish war. This painting is a splendid piece of work made by Mancini which was sold by him for two hundred francs to his French friend Paul Bourget. Need for money was the only reason for the sale of the picture. The child displayed in the picture is Luigiello who was a regular with Mancini. The picture shows the boy wearing a black glove in one hand only. This was a combination that fascinated Mancini. This feature was repeated in other pieces of works also. This picture shows a boy probably playing with toy soldiers. One of the main attractions of this picture is the pure innocent expression on the boy’s face. Maybe the painter had tried to relate war with innocence of mankind.
Another piece of art which deserved attention at the museum was the one titled Deer Mandala. This piece of art having Japanese origin had an unknown author to its credit. It is indeed a splendid picture which depicts a deer standing with its head in an upright position just under the sun. This work was probably done during the Edo period in 17th century Japan. As per Japanese tradition, deer are sacred animals that are entrusted with carrying messages from the deities. The picture shows a white stag riding on a cloud. This symbolizes the role of a messenger between the earth and the gods. On the saddle of the stag there is a sacred sakaki tree as well as a mirror which is considered as the sacred symbols of Shinto’s along with the sword and jewel. This picture is a marvelous creation showing the symbolic beliefs of the Shinto religion. Altogether a sacred feeling is developed while viewing the picture. There is also a sense of calm and serenity that is associated with this creation.
The other art piece which was the center of attraction at the museum was The seizing of Saint Mark, an Netherlandish creation during the 15th century. The author of this picture is still unknown. The picture shows the arrest of Saint Mark during a mass in a cathedral of Alexandria. The picture shows the seizure of Mark from behind by a soldier. Marcus Cruyt an abbot is the person who commissioned this panel. His coat of arms appears on the tablecloth at the bottom of the picture as well as at the very top of the painting. The arms include head of an ox above a flowering plant. The picture shows the crucified figure of Christ in the background which points out that the author might be very well associated with the church. A figure of a dog is also seen. Maybe this is an indication of the brutal way prevailing in those times against people who are against the normal ways of the society. This art work resembles a splendid picture of the era. it has all the grandeurs and perfections. More specifically, it resembles to the creations of Rembrandt, Michelangelo etc (Philadelphia museum of art).
It is a common feature that many paintings have human faces painted realistically. This trend could be attributed to the ancient Greek style of realistic human painting. Realism in painting human figures and landscapes are a popular subject of western art culture also. Painting animals have a much earlier history dating back to the Paleolithic periods. Animals were considered as both sources of food as well as companions hence they were also given priority in paintings. Sometimes pictures were painted alone with animals. Such pictures often depicted some kind of realistic messages through the figures. Quite often animals were painted along with humans this was because of the fact that much importance was given to animals in different stages of human occupations and culture (Cunningham & Reich. 2006).
Cunningham, L. S., & Reich, J. J. (2006.). Culture and values: Vol. 2