Artwork of the Week: February 24, 2019
Elihu Vedder (1836-1923), Elements Gazing on the First Man, c.1913, oil on board, 16 x 10 3/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Dr. and Mrs. W. Ward Mumford.
This oil sketch by the symbolist painter/poet Elihu Vedder, who was born this week in 1836, resembles an illustration for a poem entitled The Advent of Man, which appeared in his autobiography. The verse begins with the elements’ delight in man until his destructive nature emerged, a poignant theme given the fact that the painting was done on the eve of World War I. The crouched posture of man, cradled in the arms of the exotic figure on the right, suggests an embryonic state.