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The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College’s art museum, recently made a major acquisition: "The Finding of Moses," a Florentine Baroque oil painting by Jacopo Vignali.

“This work of art stands as a perfect example of the gravitas and decorum of the finest art in Florence,” said James Mundy, the Anne Hendricks Bass Director of the Art Center. He also noted some key aspects of the painting. “The grace of the presentation, the fluid concatenation of gestures, the bravura painting performances in the rich, pearl-encrusted gown of Pharaoh’s daughter and the submerged legs of the attendant, all speak to the mastery of the artist at the peak of his powers,” Mundy explained.

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You have likely heard the saying, "go big or go home." Defined in the Urban Dictionary as to "do whatever you are doing to its fullest," the term has been somewhat overused in modern language.

Since the 1940s, many artists have expressed the idea of going big through the size of their paintings. For those curious about the effect of standing before a large-scale painting, don't miss "XL: Large-Scale Paintings from the Permanent Collection" at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College. Mary-Kay Lombino, curator, provided this statement about the exhibit: "By going big, artists radically extended the tenets of modernism. Their paintings, thanks to their monumental scale, had an emotional effect on their spectators."

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The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center recently made a major acquisition: "Pasturing Horses," an eighteenth-century scroll painting by Japanese artist Soga Shohaku.

The painting is a key addition to the Art Center’s impressive collection. James Mundy, the Anne Hendricks Bass Director of the Art Center, said, “The size, quality and expression found in this work make it among the very best available.” Shohaku is one of the three key mid-Edo period painters in Kyoto known as “The Eccentrics.”  The other two artists of this group, Ito Jakuchu and Nagasawa Rosetsu, are already represented in the Center’s collection. The acquisition of this painting is “a capstone for the Center’s Japanese collection,” Mundy added.

Felice Fischer, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s curator of Asian art, concurred. “'Pasturing Horses' is a showcase for Shohaku’s skills: his finely controlled brushwork, his wonderful sense of humor, and his ability to capture a whole world even on a relatively small-scale surface. His marvelous depiction of the horses’ movement and the individual expressions of the grooms speak volumes about Shohaku’s creativity.”

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A young woman hangs sheer white linens on a clothesline. A refulgent angel descends from the heavens while shepherds tend their flocks by night. And an early motion-picture camera captures the fairyland allure of a world’s fair, slowly panning its illuminated buildings.

These vastly different images — from a 19th-century painting, a 17th-century print and a 20th-century film — are among the treasures in the current exhibition at Vassar’s Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. What brings them together is “Mastering Light: From the Natural to the Artificial,” a quirky, thought-provoking show that divides its subject into three sometimes overlapping areas: interiors and exteriors illuminated by daylight; nighttime events made visible by moonlight or firelight; and scenes either lighted by or on the subject of artificial light.

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