There are some holidays one doesn’t expect to be able to find celebrated in paintings.
Until recently, Palm Sunday was one of those holidays for me.
Then I ran into Alfred Stevens’ Palm Sunday, from 1862.
Technically speaking, it appears that this young woman has opted for boxwood—rather more accessible in Europe than palm—but, as the Walters Art Museums writes, she nonetheless tucks the sprig of it “behind the frame of her mother’s portrait hanging on the bedroom wall. Another bough, lying on her cloak, is intended for the adjacent miniature, presumably a portrait of her father.”
There is something wonderful about the quiet memorial of it, about the care with which she slips the branch behind the wooden frame.