Friday, July 05, 2013

Fine Art Friday!

Moonlight
Winslow Homer


What a peaceful ending of the day! A first glance, Homer's painting almost looks like a snapshot.

A smooth rock ledge balances the textured, broad expanse of sky with the full moon giving tranquil illumination. Notice how the skiffs of white cirrus clouds flow in one direction while the spray from a breaking wave scatters in the opposite. That's detail that Homer must have used to rotate the eye around the picture. Far, far in the distance, two, maybe three, vessels dot the horizon. Again as I've mentioned about recent Fine Art Friday selections, I love Homer's realistic use of light on the water.

And that simple-at-a-glance but detailed-at-inspection landscape provides the setting of the again simple-at-a-glance two people at the focus. While there is physical detail to observe -- notice her fan and the tilt of her head, and his hat, the lean of his body, and what appears as his umbrella -- the complexity lies within the relationship. Is he a beau and she the belle? Are they married? Are they tranquil or troubled?

Paintings like this are provender for the imagination from which stories flow. I wonder how many good books have begun with a picture.


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