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Cobweb Valentine

Cobweb Valentine

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A large (23.5 x 20 cm.) watercolor painting of what appear to be vibrant cyclamen flowers of white, pink, rose, and lavender has been affixed to a larger sheet of plain paper. The painting has been hand-cut into concentric circles, creating a Cobweb mechanism. Also known as a Beehive, Bird Cage, or Flower Cage, it usually has a thread which can be gently pulled to lift the mechanism, revealing an interior picture. The thread is missing, and a small tear in the paper exists where it had been.Inverting the entire page allows the cobweb to unfurl without further damage. Inside, is a carefully painted smaller image of a Roman goddess before an Altar of Love. There is an anchor at her feet -- signifying Hope. Atop the altar is a very small painted image -- at first glance it looks like flaming hearts. On closer examination, it appears to be an apple with leaves. Since the apple represents sin and temptation, the meaning in this painting is uncertain. According to the Language of Flowers, the Cyclamen symbolizes Resignation and Goodbye. The anchor and the word, Hope, may signify a departure -- and the "hope" for the return.This style of cobweb was popular in the first quarter of the 19th century.


1810 - 1829


The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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