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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Frame by Frame

Freedom of youth in an older woman’s picture

NORTHAMPTON — This vibrant picture, which could have been painted by a young Edvard Munch, was in fact painted by Berthe Morisot, the great Impressionist, the year before her death in 1895. It hangs in the Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton.

It shows Morisot’s daughter, Julie, playing Mozart on the violin, with Julie’s cousin accompanying on the piano. The interior, which trembles with musical vibrations, is illuminated by bright light coming in through the window behind, creating strong silhouettes of the girls’ figures, burning away the fat of facial expression, fingering, and even Julie’s bow, which seems to have disappeared without a trace.

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