Catalog of the Fine Arts Collection

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A. Wordsworth Thompson (1840-1896), American
Waiting for the Steamboat at Menaggio, Lake Como (Steamboat-Landing at Menenazzio), 1874
OIL ON CANVAS , 20 1/2 x 38 ½ inches
Gift of Mrs. Theodora Willard Best

Baltimore native Wordsworth Thompson's panoramic depiction of a small town located on Lake Como in northern Italy provides as expansive a view of the town's community as it does of the scenic landscape itself. Peasants, merchants, soldiers, musicians, and nobles mingle patiently while awaiting the ferry, providing the artist a rare opportunity to portray them at once. The brilliant blue sky and distant Alpine landscape, animated mixture of social types in the foreground, and historic buildings are carefully interwoven in Thomp­son's composition. Painted just four years after the unification of Italy was completed, Thompson's painting suggests the natural ease with which the people and landscape peace­ably coexisted. Although the artist himself had been living in New York since completing his studies in Paris in 1868, he continued to develop his appreciation of Europe's diverse cultures and landscape during shorter trips abroad thereafter.

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