One of the many reasons I love to visit Biltmore Estate is because I love art. I love how people can create something beautiful and meaningful using all sorts of different mediums. When I visit the Estate, I see art everywhere. Not only is Biltmore a work of art itself, but the estate is full of artworks by some very notable artists like John Singer Sargent, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Giovanni Boldini, and Anders Zorn.
After returning from a week-long trip, I wanted to spend some special time with my kids. I took them to Biltmore for the afternoon. It’s really fun to see the Estate from a child’s perspective. We talked a lot about concealment doors, A.K.A. “secret doors,” treasure chests, and wall paper made from real gold. It was loads of fun. I need to mention that all of the employees throughout the house were so helpful with the kids. They were given sheet full of things to look for throughout the house and employees were constantly telling them of neat facts that the kids loved.
On the second floor living area, I took a few minutes to gaze at one of my favorite paintings at Biltmore. The Waltz, by the Swedish Anders Zorn, always mesmerizes me and draws me in. At first glance the painting looks romantic, however, if you really look at the painting you realize the defining character of the composition is lighting. The painting is broken into three parts where lighting is represented differently. The back left where people are enjoying themselves in an overly bright room are clearly seen is in contrast to the right of the painting where a black curtain is the background. The right side of the painting shows a more intimate area where a couple is dancing and a man is sitting by himself watching. If you notice, beside the lone man there is an electric lamp that provides just enough light, but not too much. Bringing it all together is a couple dancing in the foreground of the picture positioned between the two rooms and the glare of the electrical lighting from both rooms reflected on the floor. Incidentally, the man dancing here looks a lot like Zorn. Considering this, it made perfect sense when a Biltmore employee told me that this painting was purchased by George Vanderbilt at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, where electric lighting was still very new and a big subject that year.
There is so much art inside the estate to appreciate, I could spend days looking at it all. But, while were talking about art at the estate, do you want me to show you my favorite piece of art work at Biltmore by my favorite artist of all time?
This is the view from the back of the house. No matter how beautiful man can create, it will always pale in comparison to what God can create.