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Asher B. Durand. The Beeches. 1845. Hudson River school.

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Asher B. Durand. The Beeches. 1845. Hudson River school. 


After the death of Thomas Cole in 1848, Asher Brown Durand (1796 - 1886) takes the head of the movement Hudson River School. The painter concentrates especially on the effects of light and atmosphere, in a kind which one calls luminism. The paintings are very detailed and the technique is precise, it does not have there a trace of the work of the brush. Pictures resemble at photographs of nature. From 1835 Durand devotes itself entirely to the painting of landscape. For the artist, like for all the painters of Hudson River Scool, the beauty of nature is a demonstration of God. In the foreground the trees are relatively dark. They guide the glance of the witness towards the shepherd and his herd, the lake and the village, with far. With the manner of Constable in the Cathedral of Salisbury the orientation of the trees and their foliage directs the glance towards the light, the lake, the bell-tower and the action. The beeches are not that the framework, essence is held further. Bathing in a soft light, the shepherd, the sheep, the lake and the bell-tower seem to take part in a paradisiac scene, sublimate so much so that it seems almost unreal. The eye is irresistibly attracted towards the distance using a composition which is a true setting in scene. Here painting joined photography and the cinema. The image translates exactly the intentions of the artist which are of magnifier and to idealize. This landscape of a great softness enlightened of an exquisite light is eminently romantic. 

In the foreground the trees are of imposing size, the glance of the witness goes up. Then in the second time, the glance, attracted by the light and the action goes down again towards the light and the action. The point of view of the witness when the glance is fixed and the horizon is very low compared to the height of the trees. 

The most gigantic tree by the size, on the left, is located on the vertical tension field between 2 natural points of interest. On right-hand side on the natural point of interest lower right, is the scene towards which the painter wishes to direct the glance. 

The dark zones are in the foreground, the clear zones with the background. This makes it possible to have even more depth of field.

The trunks of the trees, their foliage and the guide lines guide the glance with far towards the light.

Details : 

This sky and this foliage make remenber the Cathedral of Salisbury, painting of John Constable. 1825.

In the center, in the light, the shepherd seems almost unreal within a paradisiac framework.

The key of the painter is so precise that each detail appears. As on a photograph. 

Light : The central zone in the distance is enlightened of in top and the right-hand side. 
Colors : Contrast between hot and cold colors. 
Toiles Similaires : 

John Constable. The Cathedral of Salisbury. (1825).

Frederic Church. The River of Light. (1877).

Frederic Church. Morning in the Tropics. (1858).