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THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Frame by Frame

Sensing the pulse of an anonymous artist

By Sebastian Smee
Globe Staff / July 24, 2012
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This small painting by an unknown American whaleman artist was painted around 1830, and it hangs in the New Bedford Whaling Museum. It shows a whale calf in the mouth of its mother.

She is not, of course, eating it. (Those teeth are useless.) She is trying to rescue it. And that, my friends, was all part of the whalers’ fiendish plan.

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Whale and Calf

At: New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford.

508-997-0046, www.whalingmuseum.org