Wander into the Schulman Gallery at Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke and you might find yourself thinking, Oh, there's Vermeer's ‘Girl With A Pearl Earring' and Fragonard's ‘Girl Reading Book' or there's Van Gogh's ‘Cottage at Nightfall.'
Before you ask how many museums LCCC might have contacted to borrow 58 paintings for its Old Masters Exhibit, please know these aren't originals. They are copies, crafted with admiration by commercial-art students of Michael Molnar.
With music, you copy a song before you compose, said student Harry Grozio, 63, of Hanover Township, who re-created portraits by American painters Robert Henri and Margaret Fitzhugh Browne.
You learn so much about the technique, the color, the composition, everything, said Wally Piontkowski, 71, of Nanticoke, who decided to re-create Van Gogh's Cottage at Nightfall because I fell in love with the sky.
In that painting, the last rays of sunlight disappear above a thatched-roof cottage. Wash hangs on a line, and a woman appears ready to do one last chore before dark. The delicate limbs of a nearby tree are evidence that Van Gogh was influenced by Japanese art, Piontkowski said.
You have to paint what you like, and I love ‘The Kitchen Table,' Piontkowski said, indicating her re-creation of another painting, this one by Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin.
Piontkowski's version of Chardin's still life shows a copper pot, a mortar and pestle, a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, some mushrooms and a chicken, all ingredients that might make a hearty peasant supper.
You know what wasn't there? Piontkowski asked, admitting she rearranged the table a bit. The cloth at the left-hand side. There was a hunk of meat there that I didn't like.
Piontkowski said she has more time for art now that she's retired from working as a medical technologist. I didn't want to be a starving artist, she said, explaining why she didn't pursue art as a full-time career.
Jeszika Lee Geisler, 28, of Pittston likewise is concentrating on science courses at LCCC, even as she devoted 300 hours to re-creating Herbert James Draper's Clyties of the Mist.
They're like nymphs, and they're rising to worship the sun god, Geisler said of the graceful creatures.
Another contribution Geisler made to the exhibit is an intricate scene that appears to show mermen washed up on shore. Is there a story?
Geisler said she found her inspiration for that piece not from an old-time master but on the cover of The Golden Rose, a contemporary book she spotted in a bargain bin.
She didn't read the novel but found the cover fascinating.
I like art that makes you stop and ask questions, she said.
What: Old Masters Exhibit
Where: Schulman Gallery, Luzerne County Community College, 1333 S. Prospect St., Nanticoke
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays through Nov. 22
More info: 740-0727