LAMPLIT INTERIORS

The nineteenth century has been called the "Era of the Interior," because interiors gained increasing prominence as both favored spaces within the urban environment and newly meaningful images in the visual arts. During this period, interiors became associated with family and privacy, and were thought of as sheltering nests. The interplay of lamplight with the human occupants, architecture, decorative objects, and furniture that defined the spaces of privacy provided pictorial opportunities for artists working in diverse media. Some artists were drawn to the visual excitement and challenge of depicting the aesthetic effects of specific kinds of lamplight. Others defined the lamplit interior as a psychologically resonant, even troubling, environment.

Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926), Drawing for "Evening," 1879–80. Conté crayon on paper, 7 7/8 x 8 3/4 in. (20.1 x 22.1 cm). Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. Purchased through gifts from the Lathrop Fellows. Dedicated to Jonathan L. Cohen, Class of 1960, Tuck 1961, in appreciation on the occasion of his fiftieth reunion, D.2003.16

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