The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum unveiled a special gift for the community to enjoy this holiday season on Dec. 1.
A large, round painting by Elliott Daingerfield can now be found prominently displayed in the open atrium entrance of the museum, on loan from a private collection.
The unveiling, accompanied by Christmas hymns sung by the Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church’s children’s choir, was the climax of BRAHM’s holiday open house.
An oil on canvas painted about 1896, the work is often referred to as “The Holy Family Tondo” (“tondo” meaning “round” in Italian). It depicts the Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child in her lap with her mother, St. Anne, reading from the Book of Prophecy as the infant John the Baptist lifts the cross to Christ.
The Virgin has Jesus in her lap, but has removed her hands from him symbolizing that he is freed to become the perfect offering.
Daingerfield’s older daughter, Marjorie, a sculptor, used the same image of Mary releasing Christ to the world in her sculpture “The Offering,” located in Blowing Rock at St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church, located directly across the street from the museum.
Daingerfield’s paintings comprised the inaugural exhibit when BRAHM opened in 2011.
Daingerfield, born in Harper’s Ferry, Va., in 1859, spent much of his childhood in Fayetteville, before traveling to New York to study art. He would eventually return to North Carolina, traveling in 1886 to Blowing Rock, hoping the “thin” mountain air would aid his recovery from the lingering effects of diphtheria.
As a landscape painter, he was deeply inspired by the sweeping vistas and green hills of the mountains. He returned, eventually building a small “four square” home and studio along the Linville Turnpike in 1889, which he called “Edgewood Cottage,” which today sits facing Main Street, adjacent to the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum.
He maintained a residence here until his death in 1932.
Visitors are invited to view “The Holy Family Tondo” in the atrium of the museum.
BRAHM currently has three other exhibits up for guests to explore: “North Carolina Treasures,” featuring Max Woody and Bolick pottery; the Watercolor Society of North Carolina 2012 traveling exhibit; and “From Secession to Sesquicentennial: Commemorating the Civil War in Western North Carolina.”
Museum hours, location and additional information can be found by calling (828) 295-9099 or online at http://www.blowingrockmuseum.org