This month’s featured painting is Evening at Hradcany by Jakub Schikaneder. A moody and ambient painting with a vague, moon-lit figure overlooking the city.
Brief Details About the Painting:
- Oil on canvas.
- 86.5 x 107.5 cm (34 x 43.3 inches).
- Completed 1913.
- Location: Unknown.
Use this as an opportunity to test your ability to analyze master paintings. In the comments below, share what you think are the top 3 most important aspects of the painting. These could relate to areas such as composition, color, value, progress, brushwork, subject, or symbolism. Once you have done that, you can compare your thoughts with my own in the drop-down below.
Click here to see my thoughts.
- Several areas compete for my attention: the ambient sky, the vague figure, and the imposing statue on the right. If I had to narrow down on a single focal point, I would say it’s the sky. But the vague figure is a close second. You might see things differently; that’s the beauty of painting.
- The sky is made up of scumbled reds, a half-moon, and muted clouds. The reds are the most saturated color in the painting and they command your attention. The half-moon is the lightest color in the painting. The reds are not strong by usual standards; they are weak compared to red straight from a tube. But they look strong when surrounded by grays, blacks, and other muted colors. The same goes for the half-moon. It appears light, but it’s far from pure titanium white.
- The top of the building in the background plays an important role in conveying depth and atmospheric perspective. Notice how it’s conveyed with weaker color and contrast. This pushes it back in perspective and gives the painting somewhat of a middle ground.
- The imposing statue anchors the painting in terms of value and makes all the other colors appear relatively light by comparison. The statue also frames the right side, which pushes our attention to the left.
- The straight lines representing the wall and street edges are sloping; they aren’t perfectly horizontal. This creates a more natural composition. Horizontal lines can look static and flat.
- All the edges in the painting are fairly soft. This plays into the vague, moon-lit atmosphere of the painting. Soft edges=low clarity. Hard edges=clarity.
- The vague figure presents a few questions: Who is it? What are they thinking and feeling? It reminds me of Frederick McCubbin’s The Pioneer.