What catches your eye in this work of art; is it the light? Notice how the artist contrasts different kinds of light—playing off, for example, the softly-filtered light coming through the gauzy curtains, with that same light then reflected off the polished wood floor. The artist, Edmund Charles Tarbell, also contrasts shapes. He sets the geometric forms of the tall French windows, the picture frames, and the horizontal lines of the wall moldings against the curving lines of the Chippendale chairs, oval gate-leg table, and the two tranquil figures. What more do you notice?
Edmund Charles Tarbell, “Mother and Mary,” 1922, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Belcher Collection, Stoughton, Massachusetts