While in Roanoke, we visited the Taubman Museum of Art which had several exhibitions to explore.

In the 50 Great American Artists exhibit, I was quickly drawn to a painting by Elihu Vedder entitled “The Old Well, Bordighera”.

Upon further research of this artist, I found that he was born in New York City (1836) and trained with artists in both New York City and Paris when he was of age. When the Civil War hit, he made a small living by creating commercial illustrations that showed tragedy and sorrow.

The work of Vedder I was most interested in is pictured below.

The Old Well

I thought that this work exhibited very complex ideas for the simplicity of the subject. A run down well in the middle of a continuously growing wood, to me, suggested the idea that the decomposition of one thing does not stop the growth of another. There are a few bones in front of the well which also helps to support this idea. There is a sort of elegant sadness that radiates from the well and makes me want to be there in order to better understand the artist’s train of thought.

The way the light is hitting the well at such an angle to create the shadows in the painting really draws me in to the breakdown of the well’s walls and roof.

The idea of decomposition surrounded by growth continues to intrigue and challenge my way of thinking.