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The many muses of Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso

There's an extraordinary exhibit this summer at the Baum School of Art.

"Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso: Symbolism & Romance" surrounds you with the realm of the senses.

Dr. Christine I. Oaklander, former Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Allentown Art Museum; Arts Coordinator, Lehigh Valley Health Network, and guest curator, brought together 19 pastels and oils by Gonzalez Dellosso, who teaches figure drawing and painting at the National Academy School, New York City.

Among those attending the July 9 opening reception was Gonzalez Dellosso's mother, Alexandra Jalil, a frequent model for her paintings and subject of "Ruffled Swim Cap" (12 in. x 9 in., Oil on linen, 2010).

While the setting for the "avid swimmer" was an Ecuador beach, as with much of Gonzalez Dellosso's work, the compositional inspiration is that of an Old Master, here, Dutch painter Rembrandt Van Rijn (1606 - 1669).

Gonzalez Dellosso's paintings give intimate glimpses of unguarded seemingly mundane moments, mostly of women ("The Recyclers," Oil on linen, 40 in. x 60 in., 2009). Upon closer inspection, there's that inspiration: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571 - 1610)

The exhibition's centerpiece is "Beatrice Reading Dante" (Oil on linen, 36 in. x 50 in., 2013), accompanied by "Study For Beatrice Reading" (Oil on linen).

One of Oaklander's excellent wall cards explains that "Beatrice Reading Dante" is inspired by Italian poet Dante Alghieria (1285 - 1321) whose "La Vita Nuova" ("The New Life"), in turn, was inspired by Beatrice Portinari, who also appears in "La Divina Commedia" ("The Divine Comedy") as a guide through Heaven.

Beatrice, who was Dante's muse, is depicted holding a book about Dante, a page turned to his portrait.

"Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso: Symbolism & Romance" is stunning, astounding, extraordinary, clearly the work of an emerging post-feminist master artist.

"A show like this takes place over months," says Oaklander, who began last October.

The paintings of Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso take a lifetime, or many lifetimes.

"Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso: Symbolism & Romance," 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday - Thursday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday, closed Saturday, Sunday, through Aug. 8, The David E. Rodale and Rodale Family Galleries, 510 W. Linden St, Allentown. 610-433-0032