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Jonathan Fisher: An Early Maine Polymath

March 26, 2020 @ 2:00 pm 3:00 pm

Jonathan Fisher, A Morning View of Blue Hill, 1824Oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 52 1/4 inches, Museum Purchase, 1965.1465.134

Talk by Farnsworth Curator Jane Bianco

Religious belief directed Jonathan Fisher (1768–1847) as the first congregational minister in Blue Hill, Maine, but encyclopedic interests, sustained throughout his lifetime, likewise nourished his mind and soul. Raised and educated in Massachusetts, Fisher graduated from Harvard University in 1795 with a degree in divinity and accomplishments in art and mathematics. He lived for the greater part of his life in Blue Hill, the small seaport located halfway up Maine’s rocky coastline. There he raised a large family in a homestead he designed and built with tools he fashioned by hand. He managed a farm with his sons in a village where he also drew up maps for his neighbors, and regularly observed and took account of daily events. He was writer, teacher, inventor, linguist, traveler, and artist, driven by a profound curiosity toward learning and experiment, collecting and categorizing. His artwork, ranging from wood engravings to paintings, suggests the diverse intellectual tastes of one of Maine’s earliest polymaths. In 1965, the Farnsworth purchased a collection of more than 300 items consisting of the wood blocks Fisher engraved for his magnum opus, Scripture Animals, and other artwork, furniture, tools, manuscripts, and artifacts he made and owned.

Jane Bianco is curator at the Farnsworth Art Museum.

Cost: $15; $10 museum members, including gallery admission

16 Museum St
Rockland, ME 04841-2867 United States
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