Collection 1880s–1940s

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Tarsila do Amaral. The Moon. 1928 535

Oil on canvas, 43 5/16 × 43 5/16" (110 × 110 cm). Gift of Joan H. Tisch (by exchange). © Tarsila do Amaral

Curator, Ann Temkin: Tarsila do Amaral is a very good example of the way that we are still learning and rediscovering the history of Modern art.

The painting takes its name from the moon, which is very prominent at the upper center. The surrounding landscape is clearly abstracted but there is definitely a sense of green earth, blue sky, and probably a river with that blue semi-circle. And maybe a mountain range behind the moon.

But I think most intriguing perhaps is the figure, which looks like a cactus. So there's that sense of ourselves in the painting as we identify with that figure standing there before the moon. There's a real sense of mystery, a real sense of wonder.

One of the things that I think is very special about this painting is that there's an infinity of space and time that invites us, the viewers, to retreat into our own thoughts, our own imaginings.