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Catherina/Cornelius Light

Nicolette Brunklaus, one of the most inventive and sensitive interior designers of our day, specializes in what really inspires us - mood lighting. She's so good, she gave the drum shade substantive value with her graphic wit. In her flat-bodied, Catherina/Cornelius Light ($245), she breaks from the drum shade trend but keeps her eye for detail. This delicate fixture is available in male (Cornelius) and female (Catherina) versions, which we like. Lovely warm light emanates from behind the circular lamp shade and disperses indirectly onto the walls. No harshness here.

The whole truth is... this soft look is based on style and attitude of Dutch Baroque portraiture. 16th-17th century Dutch and Flemish painting is revered for its super-realism, where meticulous details, immaculate textures, and nuanced emotional qualities express an "allegorical view of nature." Brunklaus' beautiful printed shades are reproductions of marriage portraits (The 18-year old Catharina Hooft and Cornelis de Graeff in Gemäldegalerie Berlin) by Dutch Baroque painter Nicolaes Eliaszoon Pickenoy; the powerful husband and wife team is Cornelis de Graeff, a famous mayor and regent of Amsterdam from the Dutch Golden Age onward, and his new leading lady, Catharina Hooft, a child-star turned aristocrat. Who knew?

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