art2see

Art2see: 'Seated Buddha in Meditation'

Also known as Dhyanamudra, this granite sculpture in The Art Institute of Chicago is of a buddha in a seated meditation. It is the common stance most people envision when they hear the word meditation and is very popular with guests at the museum.

This Dhyanamudra was completed c. 12th Century in Nagapattinam of the Tamil Nadu state in India. This was towards the end of the Chola art period in India where large beautiful sculpture and architecture flourished. This piece is odd; however, as most Chola art was Hindu in origin, where this is Buddhist, and were most well known for their bronzes, while this piece is bronze.

Art2See: Chicago - "The Song of the Lark" by: Jules-Adolphe Breton

"The Song of the Lark," 1884. Jules-Adolphe Breton. At the Art Institute of Chicago.

A Romantic-Realist, Breton followed in the footsteps of Gustave Courbet and Jean-François Millet. "The Song of the Lark" - one of Breton's most well regarded works - appeals to the nostalgic sentimentality of the peasant class, in vogue at the time.
As for the painting's meaning, larks are small birds, associated with dawn and known for their pleasing voices and melodic song. Shakespeare wrote of the lark in Sonnet 29, "the lark at break of day arising / From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate" (11-12).
The Lark is also related to love. Does the woman in the painting have a lover waiting for her at the end of the day, or is she dreaming of finding a suitor to wisk her away? We'll never know for sure. With her stoic expression, the woman in the painting isn't giving anything away. She has a long day of working in the fields ahead of her. Meanwhile, the lark sings overhead.