It's still life
Agostinho José da Mota pioneered outdoor painting from life in Brazil, much like the Impressionists did in Europe. He also excelled at these more domestic still lifes, though here you can also see clouds and sky in the distance.
This tasty platter includes a spiky jackfruit, juicy-looking pomegranate seeds, and some avocados. Tuck in!
In Brazilian Portuguese, 'still life' paintings are referred to as 'natureza-morta', or 'dead nature', because life has been frozen dead in paint. Are the quickly-rotting fruits also a reminder of our mortality?
Still Life with Fruit, Agostinho José da Mota, 1873
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Heroes at work
Pitman shows heroic men and women at work, looking like gods on earth. Their idealized forms seem to link the land to the heavens.
Virginia Pitman's paintings were designed to celebrate American workers, such as these lumberjacks, and lift the country out of the Great Depression.
Pitman is careful to show the workers as highly skilled, but also as being elemental, natural humans, in touch with earth, air, and water.
Four Phases of Labor, Virginia Pitman, 1937
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