The Forest of Arden
Albert Pinkham Ryder American
Beginning in the 1880s Ryder often turned to literary themes as subjects for his paintings. Here Ryder uses a scene from Shakespeare's comedy, "As You Like It," as a point of departure for the depiction of landscape. The figures are relegated to an unassuming position in the lower left corner of the canvas. They have usually been identified as Rosalind (disguised in male costume) and Celia, who have escaped from the court of Duke Frederick into the Forest of Arden. However, they may well represent one of several other pairs of lovers from the play. Ryder studied the local landscape of Bronx Park for this painting, simplifying and interpreting forms to create a personal vision of nature.