Formal Critique of “Indian Summer Hudson River” Essay

Formal Critique of “Indian Summer Hudson River” Essay

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Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) was an American artist and member of the Hudson River School. He was one of the first of the Hudson River Artist’s to paint beyond New York and see the unexplored west. Bierstadt’s paintings focused more upon the sublime in nature. His painting titled “Indian Summer Hudson River” was completed in 1861. It is an oil on canvas painting, which measures twenty-four inches in height by forty-one inches wide.
One looks out across a secluded section of the Hudson River. It is late afternoon, and the sun is beginning its decent. The sun is almost blinding; its rays glistening and reflecting upon the river turning its blues to greens. The sky is clear with the exception of a few scattered clouds which begin to absorb the gold and reds of the setting sun, giving an almost hazy effect to the end of this Indian summer day. On the far side of the river, a child helps his father pull a small boat onto the bank, as a small group of cattle makes their way across from the bank opposite them. The cattle move slowly and intently across the water, drinking as they walk, enjoying the last moments of the day as they continue toward the father and son. Two additional cows lounge on the cool earth beneath the trees whose branches are scattered with the crimson and yellow-orange colors of early evening and that of fall.
In analyzing Bierstadt’s “Indian Summer Hudson River”, the painting would be defined as an example of representational artwork. Bierstadt’s painting incorporates overt themes such as nature, beauty, and everyday life, but also incorporates one which is less obvious, the sacred. In terms of form, Bierstadt brings together many formal elements to give his painting life. Bierstadt makes use of contour lines, w...

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Works Cited

“Albert Bierstadt: American Painter Photographer and Landscapist” Art Renewal Center, nd. ARC Museum, 2012. Web. 22 Feb 2012.
“Albert Bierstadt .” National Gallery of Art, 2012. Web. 22 Feb 2012.
Avery, Kevin J. “The Hudson River School: Heilbrun Timeline of Art History”. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. Web 22 Feb 2012
Hogan, Kathleen M. “Iconography of the Hudson River School: American Studies.” U of Virginia. U of Virginia, 1998. Web. 23 Feb 2012.
Lewis, Michael J. “American Sublime. New Criterion (September 2002): 27-33. Ebsco.Web. 22 Feb 2012.
Oelschlaeger, Max. “The Roots of Preservation: Emerson Thoreau and the Hudson River School”. National Humanities Center, Teacherserve. n.d. Web. 22 Feb 2012
Sayre, Henry M. A World of Art. Boston: Pearson, 2010. Print.

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