Throwback Thursdays Art – w/ Update!

Throwback Thursdays Art – w/ Update!

Every Thursday, as part of my personal “enriched environment” initiative, I post a piece of art, usually from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which recently released online some 400,000 high-resolution images of its collection.  All artwork will show a sun (or sunlight) somewhere. 

I won’t name the piece or the artist, but instead invite you to study the art and post a comment addressing one or more of these questions:

  • What is going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can you find?

If you have another idea, run with it.

Special Update!  The New York Times website does this same exercise every Monday with a news photo that is uncaptioned and contains no text (click!).  The Times asks viewers the same three questions:

  • What is going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can you find?

However, at the end of the week, the Times posts the background information on the picture.  So, I’ve decided to do the same.  I’ll still post an unlabeled piece of art on Thursday.  But return on Sunday (for the Sunny Sundays post!) and you’ll find an update on the artwork here.

Note:  To embiggen the image, click on it! 



The Mountain Ford

Artist: Thomas Cole (American, Lancashire 1801–1848 Catskill, New York)

Date: 1846

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 28 1/4 x 40 1/16 in. (71.8 x 101.8 cm)

Description

Painted two years before Cole’s early death, this picture appears to be the record of an entirely imagined vision, with an implied symbolic meaning. The mountain in the center, with light at its summit and shadow at its base, dwarfs and dominates the forest around it. Civilization has laid no mark on pure nature. Just at the edge of a murky body of water, however, a horseman appears on a hesitating white mount, pausing momentarily before plunging in to ford the dark and frightening depths. This confrontation of man and wilderness draws on a long allegorical tradition of the lonely rider journeying through an awesome world.

About The Author: Bruce

5 Comments

  1. Martha E.
    Reply

    I am amazed that the painter painted the teeny tiny trees on the tippy top of the mountain with such detail. And that the painter focuses my eyes on the horse’s glowing white rump.

  2. Keri Anne
    Reply

    This looks like the beginning of a fairy tale, with the black birds flying overhead, the spooky dead trees on the right, and the man riding alone in the wilderness. It’s like something Disney would do but with more detail. And Disney wouldn’t have the horse’s buttock glowing like that.

  3. Chris Tempe
    Reply

    This is Hudson River School-ish with the dead tree trunk in the foreground and the brighter, greener, fresher hills off in the distance. However the landscape itself is not Hudson River Valley. The sun is off screen on the right side, which is peculiar in this Thursday art sequence, and somehow its light is wending its way almost horizontally through the woods to, as the other viewers have noticed, set the horse’s rump aglow.

    This is a river the rider is crossing. You can see some rapids with rocks with water flowing over them, and near the horse’s hooves are white wavelets. The horse looks like it doesn’t want to enter the stream. The rider is wearing red leggings. The amount of detail in the painting (yes, even the finely-drawn trees at the mountain’s peak) is astonishing.

    The right side of the painting is chockablock full of enormous, mostly dark trees that reach the upper right corner of the canvas. The rider is leaving this congestion behind and heading off to the left side of the painting, where there is open sky and more greenery and light.

  4. Afua Afriye
    Reply

    Isn’t this formulaic? Leaving the dark, decaying deadwood behind and venturing off into the brightly-lit and verdant distance? On a white horse?

  5. Carey
    Reply

    Is this Europe or America? The man’s red clothes and hat make me think Europe, but do you have such kind of wilderness in Europe, even a few hundred years ago?

    Maybe the whole scene is fantasy, from a folk tale or fairy tail.

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