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 — Full length
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 .
2021 SCNY Noah Buchanan : library studies October 17 – November 19.
References / citations:
– Collection database, accession #[tba].
Digital-born document number:
Record birth date:
July 4, 2021
Last updated: October 18, 2021 at 13:23 pm