Amber Ludwig is the Curatorial Assistant for the Department of European and American Art.  She received her Ph.D. in Art and Architectural History from Boston University in 2011, and prior to coming to the Honolulu Museum of Art, she held fellowships at the British Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, among others. So no surprise that when we asked her to talk about her favorite work of art in the museum’s collection she picked something from the gallery of 18th-century European art:

“Leonardo Coccorante’s Harbor with Roman Ruins (c. 1740-50) was not on view when I began working at the Honolulu Museum of Art in September 2011, since it was being conserved. When I finally saw it on the wall of the newly reinstalled 18th-century gallery, I remember being struck by its physical size and the luminosity of the paint on the canvas, as well as the artist’s use of dramatic lighting effects to create a sublime mood. Invented scenes like this one offered 18th-century artists an opportunity to demonstrate their creative ability, and this work may have served as a stage set design. I still enjoy visiting this painting, standing a few feet away, and being reminded of art’s ability to transport us to imaginary places.”

Hear Amber speak: Amber talks about “Intimate Encounters and Public Pronouncements: Portrait Miniatures from the Permanent Collection” at a free curatorial lecture on Oct. 23.

Leonardo Coccorante (Italian, 1680-1750)
Harbor with Roman Ruins, c. 1740-50
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mrs. Thomas Balding, 1990, with conservation treatment supported by the Michael and Patricia O’Neill Charitable Fund (6015.1)