in the style of the Pether family
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ART OF THE BLOWJOB WELL
JOHNSON HOUSE, HANOVER ⎔ MOON AND COW ⎔ MUSKOX ⎔ MYSTERIES ⎔ OXBOROUGH ⎔ VESUVIUS
Appears once from 129:50-130:00.
Now, I’m not 1000% that this is the same piece from the film, but we’ve got some strong clues going on here, and I would submit that it’s the same rough design by the same artist, if not the same image (I saw a few variants that I forgot to save, so it could be one of those, but I thought this was the best at the time). First, you’ve got that little dot of boat in the beam of moonlight, just where it should be. Second, you’ve got the black square (it’s the side of a building, it turns out) wreathed in the lighter shade of all the buildings along the harbour, at just the right height (adjusting for how the image is hung/framed in the film, etc.), with the whiteness diminishing as it goes, and you’ve even got little dark domes above, just where those should be. The two things that throw me off are 1) the fact that the moon doesn’t seem to show up, and 2) the way the whiteness seems to get eaten up by that blob of darkness too soon. These are both probably the result of the hang of the painting, and the dark bar of shadow laying across the image thanks to the bannister (which you can see covering the rightmost third of the image).
I would put this along with Sister’s Creek and the Irish Setter piece as being among the most incredibly difficult pieces to ID, and which could only be ID’d by intense study. Obviously I’ve fantasized about there being some art expert out there who could just glance at my master file of mystery pieces, and pop them off in an afternoon. But pieces like these three are too obscure for that. I only found it after days of sifting through Vesuvius paintings, and this wasn’t even in the main results; it was the suggestion below a clicked result. And the people selling it (get it here, for a cool two grand), don’t even know who it’s by. And plugging it back into a Google image search or a Pinterest image search produces no results. So this piece may remain a mystery, save for its subject: Vesuvius, roaring away at night across the Bay of Naples. That said, I recently discovered the works of Abraham Pether (who painted the first Vesuvius below) and his sons Henry and Sebastian (who painted the second Vesuvius below).
Abraham was known as “Moonlight” Pether, for the success of his depictions of nightscapes. He would pass this love of moonlit scenes on to his sons, both of whom would cover the subject extensively. But it’s in the works of son Henry that the form of the piece in the film seems to have in greatest abundance. The obscured moon, the water-bourne perspective, the interest in harbour front cityscapes.
I don’t think this will ever be confirmed, in terms of Pether being the author–and I’ll admit that the piece in the film lacks the polish of any Pether piece. But the interest in Vesuvius/Naples, the time period of presumed composition, along with the general aesthetic is close enough to say that if it’s not a Pether, then it’s by someone enormously influenced by their style. The other thing of note about these patriarchal painters is that while Abraham enjoyed a productive, celebrated career, health concerns eventually smashed the family’s fiduciary comforts at the end of his life, which is no doubt related to why a similarly ignoble existence awaited Sebastian (and possibly Henry). If Henry met a similar end (he died in 1865 at 37 years old) then the piece in the film could be the result of one, late in life, struggling against some disease to retain the former glory of a house crumbling to bits. Also, I’m just noticing that Henry was born in 1828 and Abraham died in 1812. What? Why is he considered Abraham’s son in every writing I can find about him? Did I miss a memo? About the nature of time and space? I’m guessing Henry is Sebastian’s son(?). But yeah, if this piece was even by a younger, less talented (and utterly forgotten) Pether, that would be even more heartbreaking.
So that all speaks to the incestuous nature of what Wendy’s seeing here. I’m not saying that incest always leads to the breakdown of lineages (the rate of birth defects is only twice the rate that less-closely-related procreators experience), but let’s say that’s reason number #562 why Wendy should be terrified of the path she was on.
As of this writing, there’s one other confirmed Vesuvius painting (in Suite 3; in case you’re not reading this in order, go read that link for a more thorough study of the mountain’s historical subtext), and a few other suspected ones, each appearing just outside a bedroom. As such, they each seem to say something about the explosive nature of sex and desire. This anonymous moon-goddess-y one certainly seems to have a thought about Wendy’s relationship with her son. If I can pin down the other ones for what I suspect them to be, I’ll do a more thorough analysis. For now, note that this is among the three pieces tied for third last to be seen in the film, and the last of the Vesuvius references.
As for the mirrorform, this painting appears, along with the McClelland muskox piece and the possible McCarthy piece, for ten seconds while Tony says he doesn’t want to show Danny why the Overlook is so bad. Within 3 seconds, a lava flow of blood starts oozing out of the Gold Room elevators. Wonder why?
I also have a thought that several of the as-yet-unidentified pieces in the film could be more Vesuvius-inspired works, but until I can confirm them, I would bloat this section with undo glut. However, there are a good deal of mountains seen in the various artworks, both identified and unidentified, so it might do to conclude this section with a feature listing those all off. If you’re reading this, I obviously haven’t gotten around to that yet.
Next art reference: Muskox Illustration
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OTHER MAIN PAGES FOR SHINING ANALYSIS
THE MIRRORFORM ⎔ THE BEATLES ⎔ THE RUM AND THE RED
BACKGROUND ART ⎔ OVERLOOK PHOTOGRAPHS ⎔ GOLDEN SPIRALS
PHI GRIDS ⎔ PATTERNS ⎔ VIOLENCE AND INDIGENA ⎔ ABSURDITIES
THE STORY ROOM ⎔ ANIMAL SYMBOLS ⎔ THE ANNOTATED SHINING