Noah Buchanan [NRA 2021] : Color study for visual perception and light and intelligence and education, 2021.


SAL record control number: 101172 ;

Record level: Item ;

Record type: Movable work ;


Work title: Color study for visual perception and light and intelligence and education  [title from curator] ;

Alternate work titles:
2021 : Color study for visual perception and light and intelligence and education  [title from curator] ;

Work date: 2021  [from artist] ;

Work creator: Noah Buchanan [NRA 2021] ;

Work medium: Oil on linen ;
Work dimensions: 18-1/2 x 16-1/2 inches [unframed] ;

Inscribed / signed front: [unknown] ;

Verso: [unknown] ;

SAL category: Oil ;
SAL sub-category: Allegory ;

Archives of American Art subjects:
Allegory — Education
Allegory — Intelligence
Allegory — Light
Allegory — Perception
Art — American
Art ― Private collections ― New York (State)
Art ― Private collections ― New York (State) ― Salmagundi
Figure female
Figure female — Full length
Figure male
Figure male — Full length

Description of work:

The artist described the allegorical figures and symbols as:

Light and visual perception [left panel]

Allegorical figure for visual perception (principal, standing / kneeling female figure):
● A painter in the act of looking/perceiving; she kneels on a stack of texts, inferring the idea that knowledge informs perception.
● The painter is winged, alluding to the freedom the artist possesses when their perceptual abilities are fully advanced. The wings also make a reference to Abbot Handerson Thayer’s affiliation / history with the Salmagundi Club.
● The palette makes a strong visual connection to the palettes on display in the Salmagundi library itself, immediately above the doors.
● The binoculars represent pursuits in seeing more powerfully, and further afield.

Allegorical figure for light (upper figure, floating boy figure):
● The figure represents white light itself.
● The figure holds a triangular glass prism and demonstrates that white light can be broken into prismatic color.
● This figure is in the act of conveying/lecturing the knowledge of Light to the painter, instructing the painter’s observations/decision making.

Intelligence and education [right panel]:

Allegorical figure for intelligence (upper, standing figure):
As per Cesare Ripa’s 17th Century text Iconologia, the following symbolism is taken from his analysis of intelligence:
● This figure representing intelligence is wrapped in gold, showing that intelligence is of the highest value.
● He holds aloft a sphere which is an illustrated constellation globe, making reference to the classical idea that a Library symbolizes the Universe.
● His other hand holds a serpent which represents the idea that intelligence delves into earthly matters/sciences (as a snake moves upon the earth).
● Sphere and Serpent symbolize that Intelligence gives access to realms of both the terrestrial and the astronomical, or The Mortal vs. The Divine.
● A lightning bolt appears behind the head of the figure to imply the electrical current of thought, and its power.

Allegorical figure for education (lower figure):
● A youthful figure seated upon the globe/earth, conveying that education is a worldly, broad-scoped matter, and additionally that Education is built upon the ages of human existence.
● Her pose is overtly engrossed in reading a book, showing her intense pursuit of education.
● Her sash is also of gold, like the golden cloaked figure of intelligence behind/above her, showing that her pursuit of education affiliates and designates her for maturation into intelligence.

2021 SCNY, gift of the artist, accession #[tba] ;
2021 Noah Buchanan [NRA 2021], the artist .

Exhibition history:
2021 SCNY Noah Buchanan : library studies October 17 – November 19.

References / citations:
– Collection database, accession #[tba].



Document information

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Record birth date:
July 4, 2021

Last updated: October 18, 2021 at 13:23 pm