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Q: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter ( Answered,   11 Comments )
Subject: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Visual Arts
Asked by: filian-ga
List Price: $12.00
Posted: 05 Jul 2002 12:23 PDT
Expires: 04 Aug 2002 12:23 PDT
Question ID: 36823
I'm looking to find the name of an artist and this particular painting
he did. I saw it hanging in the Berkshire Museum in Massachusetts back
in 1986 and it was quite large -- about 10+ feet wide and at least 6
feet high. It was the original of course, and it took up a good part
of the wall on an upper floor gallery. I know the artists was mle
because I asked about it but I don't remember his name. It could be
Phillip, or have something similar sounding in his first or lastname.
I just remember he was Spanish.

The painting is somewhat religious, depicting a man on the far right
side pointing out over a landscape toward a light. There may have been
other people in the painting but I'm not sure -- I think a group of
men, maybe. I am pretty sure it had something to do with a Christian
event in the Bible, though I was only 13 at the time so I don't
remember much, sorry.

I've been trying to figure out what this painting is for the past 16
years and I'd be most happy if anyone out there can identify both the
artists and painting, and can you find it online so I can check it out
and make sure it's the one I remember?

It isn't in that museum anymore because I visited it again in 1998 and
looked everywhere for it but it was gone.
Subject: Re: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter
Answered By: seedy-ga on 16 Jul 2002 07:52 PDT
Based on the analysis of the conservation director at the Berkshire
Museum, the painting is "David Interpreting the Writing on the Wall"
by Benjamin West.  This rather large painting is 6-7' wide and about 4
feet high.  She noted that this painting is currently hanging in the
museum AND is part of their permanent collection.  Being part of the
permanent collection does not guarantee its display, as you know. 
Usually, less than 10% of any museum's collection is on display at any

It is described as having Daniel on the left side pointing to the
right (mirror image of your memory) and there are other people in the
picture as well. I have not found an image of this painting online as
yet....but will be going near Pittsfield in the next couple of weeks
and will try to take a digital picture of the painting if it is still

We'll hope to get a picture to refresh your memory...


Some references to Benjamin West's work are:

Search on Google:  "benjamin west" + artist

Clarification of Answer by seedy-ga on 18 Jul 2002 04:47 PDT

Although Benjamin West is not Spanish and is not named Philippe, the
evidence and direct contact with the Berkshire Museum does indicate he
is your man...and the painting is Daniel Interpreting the Writing on
the Wall.  What is your feedback on this conclusion??


Request for Answer Clarification by filian-ga on 18 Jul 2002 06:03 PDT
Hi Seedy!

Thanks for going to so much trouble. I am eager to see what it looks
like because that's the only way I will really know if that is it. I
looked at a bunch of sites for West and his style is right, though I
am sure the guy in the painting who was pointing was pointing to the
left. Oh well, maybe when I see it it will be the right one and my
memory will have played a trick on me. I just remember it that way,
that the guy was on the right pointing left.

The Museum itself doesn't have any photos of this painting and I've
been to about 20 Benjamin West sites so far and none of them display
it. I even looked on eBay. How frustrating!

I hope you're able to get a photo of it! That would be awesome. Thanks
for going to all this trouble for me.

Clarification of Answer by seedy-ga on 18 Jul 2002 08:28 PDT

By now, I am more interested in this painting than you are....I am now
trying to tie in a visit to the Berkshire Museum with one to Mass be may take a couple of weeks...

Subject: Re: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter
From: seedy-ga on 05 Jul 2002 14:58 PDT
Perhaps Phillippe Deschamp in style but not Spanish and I couldn't
find anything to point at....sorry

Subject: Re: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter
From: pinkfreud-ga on 05 Jul 2002 18:38 PDT
Since the artist was French, not Spanish, this painting does not mean
all your criteria, but could you be thinking of Philippe de
Champaigne's "The Annunciation?"

"The Annunciation" is a large painting, 334 centimeters by 214
centimeters, which is approximately 11 feet by 7 feet. Several other
depictions of the Annunciation were painted by de Champaigne in the
mid-17th century. The artist also created many other paintings on
Biblical themes.
Subject: Re: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter
From: pinkfreud-ga on 05 Jul 2002 18:41 PDT
In my comment above, I intended to say "does not meet all your
criteria" rather than "does not mean all your criteria."

Please excuse my typo.
Subject: Re: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter
From: filian-ga on 05 Jul 2002 21:03 PDT
Thanks for the suggestions but that's not the one. This one had a man
on the far right, in the foreground, bigger than everyone else, and he
was pointing to the left, to a light in the distance. There were other
men, and it was on a landscape and it was quite dark, not extremely
colorful, but something of a night scene outdoors, perhaps in a hilly
area in the Holy Land. There were no women in it or angels. I don't
think it was set BC...I THINK the men had clothing on that was more
30's or 40's style, though I am really not sure. Memory is faulty on
this one. I just remember liking the painting and wanting to get a
postcard of it in the gift shop but I was with my Aunt and she didn't
want to stop. Unfortunate!

Thanks again for the comments, though. I am still searching for it,
too and turning up nothing so far.
Subject: Re: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter
From: seedy-ga on 06 Jul 2002 18:53 PDT
There is some information about the Berkshire Museum's permanent
collection on their website  Although no
"spanish" painters are listed, I'll give a call tomorrow to see if
anyone there has a recollection of the exhibit you remember from 16
years ago...

"The Berkshire Museum Fine Art collection includes exquisite sculpture
of the 17th-- 20th century, American portraits by such masters as John
Singleton Copley, Charles Wilson Peale and John Singer Sargent, work
by Norman Rockwell, including the famous Shuffleton's Barber Shop
which is scheduled to return from a national tour in October as well
as one of the finest collections of Hudson River School landscape
paintings in the Northeast.

The artists of the Hudson River School sought to capture the untouched
beauty of the American wilderness at a time when the natural landscape
was threatened by human encroachment. The Museum's collection - hailed
as one of New England's finest - includes 19th-century masterworks by
Albert Bierstadt, Frederick Edwin Church, and George Inness.

Related to the Hudson River School Installation, Beauty and Utility is
an exhibition of American artworks, paintings and sculpture by artists
such as Hiram Powers, Charles Willson Peale, John Singleton Copley,
Thomas Dewing, and John LaFarge."

Subject: Re: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter
From: seedy-ga on 06 Jul 2002 18:59 PDT
Of course, the painting sounds a bit like Velazquez's paintings of
King Philip IV but it is hardly likely that the Berkeshire Museum
would have had the resources to have staged an exibit of Velazquez's
work......This is a facinating question.

Subject: Re: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter
From: seedy-ga on 06 Jul 2002 19:02 PDT
OK...I'll go to sleep after this one:

check the middle of the page for a painting my Joachim Mir from the 19th Century..
Ring a bell??

Subject: Re: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter
From: filian-ga on 06 Jul 2002 20:06 PDT
No that's not it but thanks for doing all this research. I looked at
the page with the Mir painting and this one by Goya
( is reminiscient of the one
I'm talking about in the colors I think. This was a dark painting like
this one, only it wasn't a war scene. I wish I could draw what I
remember of it...maybe I can do a sketch and show you via a link if I
post it on my website or something. Thanks again for looking so hard!
I am confident you're going to find it!
Subject: Re: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter
From: filian-ga on 07 Jul 2002 07:16 PDT
Since this question is proving quite difficult, I upped the amount I'm
willing to pay for the answer:) I know it's taking a lot of time.
Thanks everyone for trying:)
Subject: Re: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter
From: seedy-ga on 09 Jul 2002 07:52 PDT

My phone call to the Berkshire Museum resulted in my getting a contact
there who has been there for over 25 years.  This woman is described
to me as "....knowing everything about all exhibits at the museum over
that period of time..."  Unfortunately, she is on vacation this week.
She is expected back next Monday...I left a message for her on her
voice mail.  I will call her on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week
(give her a day to catch up) and hope that will result in the answer
to our mystery.  Thank you for increasing the question value.  The
quest will go on.

Subject: Re: Looking for Painting by Spanish Painter
From: filian-ga on 09 Aug 2002 05:58 PDT
Seedy have you had any further luck in obtaining a picture of the
painting? There's no way for me to know if it's the correct one unless
I actually see it. Thanks for all your help!

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