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The Doors (Les Portes)

Xavier Mellery Belgian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 829

Mellery created a visual and spatial conundrum for the viewer: do we see two doors opening in opposite directions, or a mirrored reflection? Small discrepancies, such as the partially raised blind on the door in the foreground, suggest an answer. Mellery carefully manipulated the quality and the patterns of the sunlight in order to animate the interior and set a mood. In a review of the artist’s work, his friend the Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren observed, "There remains in [the] atmosphere of an empty room a little of the human soul."

The Doors (Les Portes), Xavier Mellery (Belgian, Laeken 1845–1921 Laeken), Oil on canvas

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