Paris Street; Rainy Day

By Rachel Anne Murphy

November 13, 2017

Paris Street; Rainy Day

Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877. Oil on canvas. 

Back then, a woman of 17 could marry a man of 37 and the men would say, good for you, old chum, what a waist she's got, and the women would say, good for you, lucky duck, what lovely diamonds. They could walk down the street on a rainy winter's day; he could hold their umbrella over their hats; she could slip her gloved hand into the crook of his arm. No one would notice them—they wouldn’t even notice themselves—except for that one man trying to pass, and only because they’re about to knock his umbrella. 

This is the painting that would have greeted us, at the top of the stairs, just inside the gallery doors, centered on its own freestanding wall, seven feet by nine feet, we couldn’t have missed it, if I had said, yes, when he asked, would I like to go with him, to the Art Institute, that weekend, or the next?, instead of looking down at his classroom floor and saying, um, no.

Comments (9) - Post a Comment
Interesting way to show us the painting and the scene. And so timely.
andrea fisk rotterman at 8:27am EST - November 13, 2017
What a fabulous juxtaposition of the painting's subject matter and what could have happened. Bravo.
Erin Wood at 8:42am EST - November 13, 2017
Terrific details in a beautifully written vignette with a fabulous and powerful twist at the end. Yes!
Leah Silverman at 10:31am EST - November 13, 2017
Yes. Exactly. Beautifully said.
Vicki Brennan at 12:17pm EST - November 13, 2017
I was drawn in by the possible story behind the scene in the painting; the twist at the end was, as someone else said, powerful. Well done!
Gladys Strickland at 1:38pm EST - November 13, 2017
Nice example of ekphrastic writing.Smart and creative.
Cindy Carlson at 3:57pm EST - November 13, 2017
Very inventive piece with perfect word choices. I love it!
Hayley at 10:28am EST - November 14, 2017
Thank you all for your kind comments.
Rachel Anne Murphy at 12:31pm EST - November 14, 2017
I loved that twist at the end
Gayle at 7:26pm EST - January 22, 2018

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