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Frederic Edwin Church. Aurora Borealis. (1865).
Hudson River School

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Frederic Edwin Church. Aurora Borealis. (1865). Hudson River School.

The Hudson River School painter's like the imposing landscapes. But, although East America has splendid sights, Church represents also the landscapes of the tropics and the North. It applies here rigorously the principles of its movement : opened landscape, sight of the spectator guided further possible, precise representation of the details, reproduction of the atmospheric effects and the effect of light. The paintings of the Hudson River School painter's are often imposing, here the subject is too. Northern lights or polar lights are luminous phenomena of the upper atmosphere caused by the interaction of the gas molecules with the solar wind. Northern lights occur in the polar regions, above 60° of Northern or Southern latitude. Polar lights generally have the shape of trails of draperies or veils. It can take a large variety of forms : auroral arc with horse on the magnetic meridian line, bandages auroral, filaments and arrows of light, crowns, luminous circle, curtains, ranges, flames and other arrows of light.

The point of view of the spectator is at the top of the horizon. The glance goes up it tends to follow the coloured upward rays of this natural demonstration.

The mountain is close to a natural point of interest on the low tension field and on the left. The zones where the rays of light come are also in the vicinity of the natural points of interests in top and bottom, on the right and on the left. 

The sky occupies the 2/3 of higher pictorial space. The sea, the ground and the ice are on the lower third.

The picture is articulated intelligently on the ascending diagonal. For the foreground of horizontal are used as a basis for sinuous lines. With the background the verticals and the obliques dominate and lead the glance of the spectator to rise. 

Details : 

This zone evokes very clear spots and forms around clouds.

This ship seems to sail in a sea of ice. But it is possible that it is blocked there. 

These luminous features evoke an volcanic eruption. 

Here it seems that the sky is lit by an enormous projector.

Light : 

The light assembles horizon towards the sky in an immense range. Nevertheless it seems that the foreground is lit by a light coming from the right-hand side of painting. 
Colors :

Contrast between hot and cold colors.

Similar Paintings :
Frederic Edwin Church. Icebergs.
Same rules of composition for this painting of the great cold.
The Nature of Each dimensioned, a sky rougeoyant, a pink sea of the bluish reflections on snow. There exists also the same one perforated in the landscape which makes it possible taking into consideration to be lost in the distance. 

Frederic Edwin Church. Twilight in the Wild World.
The setting sun sets ablaze the sky of this twilight and is reflected in the river. 
The mountains with far and on the 2 with dimensions ones frame this remarkable 
composition. In the foreground the trees guide the glance and give depth of field.

Frédéric Edwin Church. The River of Light. (1877).
Click to see the analysis.