Richard Norris Brooke "A Pastoral Visit"


A Pastoral Visit

"A Pastoral Visit", the most celebrated of Richard Norris Brooke's genre scenes, depicts a family welcoming their elderly pastor to Sunday dinner a frequent occurrence in both black and white rural parishes that could not afford parsonages. According to tradition, the pastor is served first and, following the meal, he will be presented with both the cigar box containing the congregation's weekly contribution (duly protected by the family patriarch) and the cloth-wrapped fruit at right.

The banjo, prominently placed at the center of the composition symbolizing its importance in African American culture, may indicate an after-dinner musical interlude. The family's home, rustic but comfortable, features a sturdy cupboard housing pottery and glass and brick fireplace on whose mantel are neatly arranged a coffee grinder, a ginger jar, and clothes irons. Decorating the corner near a damaged window are a circus poster and a string of dried chilies.

Brooke had ample opportunity to study the interior depicted; it was located in a residence near his home in Warrenton, Virginia, where he painted the canvas. Likewise, the features of the figures resulted from the artist's use of his Warrenton neighbors as models: George Washington, Georgianna Weeks, and Daniel Brown.

Giclee on canvas.

Framed Dimensions: 24" x 18.5"

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