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Charles Prendergast (1863-1948)
Rising Sun, ca. 1912
Tempera and gold leaf on incised, carved and gessoed panel
Williams College Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Charles Prendergast, 91.18.15

A year after returning to America from Italy, Charles began his first panel painting, Rising Sun, inspired by the classical spirit and iconography so vividly conveyed in the rich Italian artistic tradition. Like several of Charles’s early carved panels, Rising Sun comprises a thick pine board (measuring one inch deep) which allowed him to carve a design in high-relief, but which unfortunately tended to warp. In later panels, he utilized plywood supports to avoid warping, but these allowed Charles to make only shallow incisions in the surface. Rising Sun features a “false” frame, a ridge carved along the outside edge in the shape of a frame, the result being a close integration of pictorial and frame design that is fitting for Charles’s transition from frame-making to picture-making.

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