The Two Pictures I Would Like Best To Own Series–Part 4

Hello, again History Lovers,

In another submission to The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, Ms. M.A. of New York has chosen The Two Pictures that she Would Like Best To Own. One is religious in nature and the other is of people in nature both of which seem to follow a trend set by her fellow submitters. The first painting is an obscure piece of work by French painter Henri Lerolle and the other is the glorious and world-renown Sistine Madonna by Raphael including the two cherubs at the bottom of the painting who have taken on a life of their own throughout the centuries.


For My Home and Friends

On the Banks of the River by Henri Lerolle, French Artist, circa 1900

If I had the money, I know two pictures I should order before the sun sets. I simply must have them some time!

One, painted by Henri Lerolle, is called On the Banks of the River, which gives a glimpse of scenery, charming and restful in every detail. The expanse of the river is calm and quiet, reflecting on its bosom the hills and trees and Heaven above. The trees are tall, straight, and nearly leafless, pointing like church spires to higher things. It is late in the day. In the distance, a woman is seen bringing the cows from the pasture, and in the foreground, giving your heart a real tug, are two young women returning from a nutting trip. One bareheaded has a bag of nuts slung over her shoulder. Her face is sweet and winning. By her side walks the other woman with a baby in her arms, her beautiful face expressing deep tender mother love. There is a warm human appeal in these rustic and graceful figures.

Sistine Madonna by Raphael 1513 Italian High Renaissance Artist

The other picture is one that people who are supposed to know, call the greatest picture in the world—the Sistine Madonna by Raphael. The original is in the Royal Gallery of Dresden where it has a room by itself.

There is sadness as well as joy and sweetness in the lovely face of the Mother as if she foresees the suffering as well as the triumph of Christ. The Holy Child’s face has the essence of all the loveliness, sweetness, and beauty of childhood and yet it has an omniscient look that makes one think of eternal and spiritual things.

Kneeling, in awe and amazement are Pope and Saint, and cherubs’ faces exquisitely lovely, seem to be worshiping the Child.

I want these pictures for my pleasure but most I want my children to know and love them, and to know the lives of the painters, especially the gifted, adorned, and immortal Raphael. I want my friends to love them and I want some who never before have seen the beauty of them to learn in my home the joy they give. –M.A., N.Y.


The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 359; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

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