Today’s “Ball” selection is by Brazilian painter José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior. I’m unfamiliar with the artist by name, however a quick image search on Google shows several great works which I recognize from Pinterest. Anyway, his “After the Party” seems like an ideal feature for this month’s series. Sitting at her vanity, the young woman is relaxed and has a tranquil expression, perhaps reflecting on the events of that evening. The presentation of this work invites us to observe her possessions throughout the table, which occupy the entire right side of the composition. This emphasis on her personal belongings creates an intimate, vulnerable portrait, revealing much about our subject while encouraging us to identify with her.
I love the crisp detail found throughout the scene. Her dress, the table clothes, the fan, the jewelry box—even the lamp, its contours barely visible against the dark background. Only Júnior’s rendering of our subject’s nose stands out as unusual—to me, at least—but nonetheless it functions to give this portrait a very distinctive quality. Not all elements of an artwork need to adhere my personal tastes. Besides, the more I view this painting, the more I’ve accepted the nose as part of the artist’s approach.