Canaletto has included a curious detail: a depiction of a boat on the wall of the building in the right foreground. Whether this was simply sgraffito or some form of trade sign is not entirely clear. Above it a woman looks down from a small balcony; Canaletto placed similar figures at the edge of a number of his pictures, in order to close off the scene.
Constable met Maria Bicknell in 1800, when she was thirteen. She was the granddaughter of the rich Dr Rhudde, Rector of East Bergholt, Constable's native village. In 1811 they became engaged, but Maria's father, Solicitor to the Admiralty, and especially her grandfather the rector, opposed her union to 'a man below her in point of fortune, and...without a profession'. Constable's friend and biographer C.R. Leslie reports that for five years Maria was treated 'as if she were a boarding-school girl in danger of falling a prey to a fortune-hunter'. At 29, however, 'she felt entitled to determine for herself a matter which so entirely affected her own happiness.' They were married on 2 October 1816 at St Martin's Church by Constable's friend the Reverend John Fisher. Fisher invited them to stay with his wife of three months and himself in Osmington near Weymouth, 'The country here is wonderfully wild and sublime, and well worth a painter's visit.'
There is some disagreement over whether this painting of Weymouth Bay is a sketch painted out of doors during Constable's honeymoon, or a later work prepared for sale on the basis of sketches made at this time and left unfinished. It seems so fresh and spontaneous that most viewers have wished it to be a direct record of Constable's visit, his easel set a little west of Redcliff Point, facing Jordan Hill and Furzy Cliff on a gusty October day. The reddish brown of the priming shows through the blue sky and water, lending a warm glow to the landscape, which is framed and 'pushed back' by a promontory on the right and rocks and pebbles at the lower edge, painted freely but in greater detail than the rest. The glory of Weymouth Bay, however is the cloudscape: clouds rising from the horizon to form the 'vault of the sky', that pictorial discovery of Dutch seventeenth-century marine painting.
Constable's early employment in his father's mill must indeed have alerted him to the appearance and behaviour of clouds. It is all the more moving, therefore, to find that in his youthful exertions to train himself in art he had sat down and carefully copied and labelled a series of cloud patterns published in 1785 for the use of his pupils by Alexander Cozens, a landscape painter and drawing master. There are no more truthful studies of clouds than those by Constable, but even the observant windmiller had to acquire a vocabulary of representation before setting them down in paint.
Vairumati is the Tahitian goddess, the original mother of the island, the mythical Eve from whom the Maohi people were descended. Gauguin depicted a young woman as the goddess. The white bird with the lizard in its claws is the Tahitian symbol of the ever-recurring cycle of life.
Gauguin repeatedly gave his paintings Tahitian titles, without having actually mastered this language.
The Piazza San Marco in Venice, with the Basilica di San Marco and the famous Campanile has always been recognised as one of the most famous of all European settings, and has come to occupy a central place in the work of Canaletto, the city's most famous view painter. The number of variants of this view that Canaletto painted throughout his career is evidence of the popularity that it enjoyed with eighteenth-century visitors to Venice.
This depiction of the Virgin and Child by Botticelli and his workshop repeats the central section of Botticelli's magnificent painting from 1488-90 known as the San Barnaba Altarpiece. The composition was carefully laid out using the same cartoon as the altarpiece, as was standard practice in Botticelli's workshop.