The painting by Piero di Cosimo in 1490 is called The Visitation with Saint Nicholas and Saint Anthony Abbot : The Ballad of a Kaleidoscope

The painting by Piero di Cosimo in 1490 is called The Visitation with Saint Nicholas and Saint Anthony Abbot

by Daniel Vliet on 06/20/13

A painting that is very cool. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC,The Visitation with Saint Nicholas and Saint Anthony Abbot, c. 1490 Samuel H. Kress Collection 1939.1.361,2008


The painting by Piero di Cosimo in 1490 is called The Visitation with Saint Nicholas and Saint Anthony Abbot. This painting depicts several people who are important in the religious community. Mary gave birth to Jesus and also said yes to life in a world that would have stoned her as an adulteress. Elizabeth, women who waited a long time to have a baby. At this moment in the painting, John the Baptist is leaping for joy in his mother’s womb. In the Bible, in Gospel of Luke 1,41-42, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out in a loud voice.” bless it are you among women and bless it is the fruit of your womb.” In addition to all these things, Elizabeth’s husband’s power of speech was taking away, because an angel told him his wife was going to be pregnant way beyond her years. He became literally, speak less unable to talk further.


Saint Anthony of the Abbot, according to, had suffered the death of his parent at a very young age. Between the years of eighteen and twenty he heard a reading of Matthew 19:21”If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your position and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; then come follow me.” Saint Anthony the Abbott after deep prayer and personnel reflection knew what he had to do to transform himself as much like Jesus Christ as possible. He then placed his sister in a convent, probably being the oldest man in the family; he had the power to do that because it was part of that time. He spent the rest of his life doing the will of god, eating mostly bread, fasting, and praying. Greek philosophers sought him after. They wanted his guidance. Saint Anthony also formed the first monastic community in which religious brothers only came together to worship. ``


In conclusion he was long sought after even to the point where Anthony became afraid and felt people may start worshiping him instead of God. He moved into the desert and lived under the care of a people called Saracens. Saint Anthony died at one hundred and five, a long life giving himself to the lord in almost complete solitude. Cosimo captures the essence of this character in this painting.


Saint Nicholas lived around the fourth century. He is known for having a giving heart. One act of unselfish giving was with a man who had three daughters; the man was faced with a hardship that would have led his daughters into a very sad and unholy life style such as slavery or maybe even prostitution. Saint Nicholas heard of this by the grace of God, and over time secretly gave them all a dowry so they could live a normal life. Saint Nicholas, shortly after that, entered the religious life and later became a bishop of Myra.


A Dutch protestant, in possible attempt to revitalize Christmas made Saint Nicholas into Santa Clause a Nordics sorcerer. In other places, Saint Nicholas became Kris Kringle, a Christmas secular superstar. Saint Nicholas is known throughout the world by many names, even until present day.


The Visitation in Catholics tradition is said as a joyful mystery on a device called a Rosary. A Rosary is a beaded device in which common prayer such as The Sign of The Cross, Hail Mary, and The Apostle’s Creed and Our Father and the Glory Be To The Father, And The Hail, Holy Queen these are the mains ones used. According to the person or group, praying other could be added but these prayers will never be taken away. These prayers are not repetitive prayer at least not to Catholics, but other Christian denominations would disagree. To a practicing Catholic it is a form of mediation used to learn the bible, learn and think about the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Second Joyful Mystery teaches Catholics how to love their neighbor and it teaches charity toward others.


This painting is hung in the National Gallery of Art, in Washington D.C., the website used for this research is Recorded on this site was other information, which cannot be confirmed due to the size of the printout. This work of art has in it the Annunciation, which is on the church wall. According to the website.


In short, the Annunciation is a depiction of when Mary found out she was pregnant. The bible reference is the gospel of Luke 1,28 which is also a part of the Rosary, called the First Joyful Mystery. In addition, in the painting, there is a Navity and Adoration of the Shepherds on the left, and in the middle ground, there is a great Massacre of the Innocent. The Massacre provides contrast to many good people such as, Saint Jon of Arc and countless others, dying as martyr’s .Who died having done no great wrong other than, taking part in the Protestant Reformation.


In conclusion, a powerful family named the Capporni family probably hired Piero Di Cosimo. The painting was in their own chapel in Spirito, in Florence. His style is compared to Leonardo Da Vinci, because of a crown, which is formed by the placement of people, says Giorgio Vasari in his book Lives of the Artists. This painting is for all to see and enjoy.

Tue Dec 02 09:50:00 EST 2008 |


James Abbot McNeil Whisler and Gustavo Courbet(This Model was never seen)

Gustavo Courbet

James Abbot McNeil Whisler and Gustavo Courbet were two painters who aspired to paint the young Joanna Hiffernan; but which artist really painted her? Whistler and Courbet tried to work with art that represented Modernism; in a real way. Their works were as realistic as they could make them. These artists painted as they saw their subjects, but were limited to their own concept of their subjects, rather than how they really were. The artists’ work came alive in a very realistic way on the canvas, and this is why these artists were realism artists or modernism artists. There were many well known artists who painted realism, such as Claude Monet who is famous for his flower scene, but no artist every painted Joanna Hiffernan.


An idea was coined during the time periods referring to these Modernism Artists it is called:” Art, for Art sake.” This is, in short, a piece of art without a point of reference, as a painting in it own world. It is not my intention to persuade anyone which artist was better, Courbet’s Sleeper or Whisler’s Symphony in White Number 1: The White Girl.


To make my point that neither painting represented the character of the model, Joanna Hiffernan, I will briefly discuss Whistler’s and Courbet’s lives in order to demonstrate their own biases.


Whistler was an American-born painter, who did not feel he was born in the right place and hated anyone discussing his birthplace. Whistler worked mostly in England and lived during 1834 to 1903.His father was Major George Washington Whistler; he was a West Pint Graduate and a civil engineer. James Whistler also went to West Point for a time but had a lot of trouble in chemistry and was pulled out school. Whistler is well known for the painting of Arrangement in Gray and Black: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother. This is often called Whistler’s Mother; Mark Harden calls this painting an icon of American Motherhood .Whistler realist impression of his mother makes him a outstanding artist.


One of Whistler’s versions of Joanna Hiffernan, is the Symphony in White Number 1: The White Girl. This painting was, at one time, a major attraction in the Salon De Refuses, but this painting was rejected at both the Royal Academy and the Salon. This painting was often believed to be an apparition, a sleep walker, or a newly deflowered bride. Hiffernan was just directed to hang her arms loosely and have a face without any emotion. This painting is an oil painting on canvas, as restored in 1862.Courbet said,” He could paint and angel if he ever saw one.” Whistler also used Hiffernan for the Caprice in Purple and Gold, No 2-The Golden Screen. Wapping Purple Rose: The Large Lijzen of the six Marks. Symphony in white no@The White Girl.


Gustavo Courbet was a French artist, who was mostly considered a self-taught artist; he lived from 1819 to 1877.He was involved in politics. His involvement in talking down a Napoleonic Era artifact led him to spend years in prison. Courbet painted many self-portraits, landscapes and nudes.


He showed his works in a place called the Salon. Courbet, for a brief period, operated a studio; the studio; the studio became quite unsuccessful and closed. Courbet died in Switzerland and never returned to his beloved France because of a debt he owned.


He painted Hiffernan, because Whistler introduced them. Courbet did not paint the women in the painting, truly either. Although there was some controversy about his painting being a lesbian representation, the Sleepers may not be lovers sleeping together. They could be seen as two friends, the artist doesn’t tell us. It is possible that Courbet saw Hiffernan as more of a child when he painted this painting.


Whistler continued painting; he painted a women named Louisa Hanson. Whistler and Louisa had a child together, a son whose name was Charles James Whisler Hanson, as he was christened. Louisa Fanny Hanson went away some time later and possibly suffered depression.


The reader should realize she was a special person of her time, although a stereotypical red-haired, hot blooded Irish women. Hiffernan helped Whistler in the sales of his works and Hiffernan kept the house clean. If Hiffernan was really portrayed by these two painters as she was, she would have been in a motherly pose as she was a very nurturing person. If Whistler’s Mother was in; because Whistler’s Mother is thought of in that era as a prime example of motherhood;Hifferman did not fit that model. An example of reality would be Hiffernan holding Charles, Whistler’s son. This painting could be called Arrangement in Gray and Black No2: Portrait of Maiden Motherhood.


If Courbet had painted Hifferenan correctly, she would be painted looking at a wave or holding a child’s hand. This painting could be called Wave No2.So nobody really Joanna Hiffernan, because no one looked at her the way she was, a mother, not an apparition or angel a real modern women, who loved modernism artists.




1.Harden,Mark J.James Mcneil Whistler ,2005


2.Spaulding,Frances Olga’s Gallery,2008


3.Witcombe ,Christopher L. , Art and Artist: Art for Art’s Sake. New York: Rutledge Publishing,1993.


[1] Mark Harden an Art lover writes about James Whistler.


[2] Christopher L Witcombe explains “Art for Art Sake”, in simply terms.


[3] Mark Harden continues to modernize our views of James Whistler.


[4] Gustavo Courbet was very could friends with James Whistler


[5] Lesbian would not be a term used during these artists lifetime.


[6] Depression was known as melancholy or the blues during these artists life.

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