Bird's Nest in Cattails

Fidelia Bridges American

Not on view

In 1860, Bridges enrolled in painting classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and studied with William Trost Richards. His meticulous approach to his subject matter and devotion to the Ruskinian tenet of fidelity to nature had a profound influence on her. He helped his protégée set up her own Philadelphia studio in 1862, introduced her to his patrons, and encouraged her to exhibit her work. An increasingly prolific artist, she would execute several hundred pictures during her fifty-year career. As this example evinces, Bridges was an expert delineator of local flora and fauna near her Connecticut summer home, and her intensity of artistic focus is unlike that achieved by any other artist of her generation. Here, the tangle of reeds around the disheveled nest is at once an accurate portrayal of actual plants, a microcosmic view of a natural process of birth and decay, and a highly refined design.

Bird's Nest in Cattails, Fidelia Bridges (American, Salem, Massachusetts 1834-1923 Canaan, Connecticut), Watercolor and gouache on light brown wove paper, American

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