Today I would like to share a painting by British artist Edmund Blair Leighton. This work depicts a man arriving home and standing at his doorway as he watches a young woman as she depart her residence, her attention turned away from him, either oblivious to his presence or outright ignoring him. Perhaps, moments before, they exchanged a polite greeting, however the gentlemen desired more from their interaction. Maybe this was yet another failed opportunity for him to court the young woman. This painting could be interpreted as a commentary on courtesy, or the lack thereof, between men and women, however we can all agree that he is not entitled to her attention, nor must she reciprocate his advances.
I would like to consider that the title is open to interpretation. Is “My Next Door Neighbor” meant from the man or the woman’s perspective? If she is the “neighbor” then it would make sense she’s the central figure of the composition, and thus we’re assumed to identify to the man’s apparent rejection. Or perhaps he’s the “neighbor”, in which case this work might be alternately titled: “My Next Door Neighbor … Who Might Make A Good Dog Sitter Someday”.