Grandscapes - Justin Mercer

Grandscapes is a gallery featuring the landscape paintings of the nineteenth-century artist Albert Bierstadt. Its name is derived from the grandness achieved by his landscape pieces. Each of the paintings featured in this gallery contains the recurring elements used by Bierstadt to create his signature, larger than life, grand landscape pieces. 

Sunrise, Yosemite Valley depicts an early morning sunrise in California's Yosemite Valley. A river cuts through the center of the frame and narrows towards the sunrise. The whole valley is bathed in warm, hazy sunlight. On the right, trees are silhouetted by the backlight. To the left, a towering rock wall extends to the top of the frame and fades into the horizon. Depth and three-dimensional space are created as the rock wall an surrounding objects shrink into the background.
In this painting, Yosemite Vally is sparsely illuminated by fleeting sunlight. The warm light is brightest at the far, narrow end of the valley and grows dimmer towards the foreground, this creates the effect of rapid, receding light. Trees appear throughout the frame and shrink into the background. Towering over the trees and valley floor on either side are sheer rock mountain faces which also shrink and fade into the background. The trees appear microscopic next to the grand rock faces, using them for scale, the expansiveness of the valley becomes evident.
Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite features multiple enormous granite peaks rising into the sky. At its center, the top half of the two most prominent peaks are bathed in bright, heavenly light that cuts through the clouds above. At the bottom of the frame and into the foreground, the bare rock gives way to the lush green forest of the valley floor. The impressive height of the massive peaks is represented well as they rise above surrounding clouds.
This painting features multiple Giant Redwood Trees scattered throughout a lush, dense forest. Below the towering trees, a swift stream flows down from the elevated background to the foreground. Soft, hazy light permeates through the canopy down to the forest floor. Only after close inspection does one notice the three people along the stream bank. With the size of the people taken into consideration, one can then appreciate the grandeur of the enormous Redwood Trees.
This painting depicts a vast, enchanting mountain landscape. At its center lies a calm, clear lake. Surrounding the lake in the background are colossal mountains with steep jagged peaks. Surrounding and partially hiding the mountains is a thick, fluffy cloud bank of varying color. In the extreme background, the tallest mountain is capped in snow, giving evidence of its extreme altitude. A tranquil waterfall flows down off a rock face into the lake below. Many of the surrounding objects can be seen in the lake's reflection. In the dark foreground and barely visible, two deer stand next to the lake giving scale to the massive landscape.
This painting features Wyoming's Grand Teton mountains. Stretching from the foreground to the base of the mountains lies a blue, shimmering lake. On its far side, the lake gives way to rolling hills covered with dark green trees and light green grass. The mountains rise abruptly from the lake into the clouds. The largest snow covered peak pierces into the clouds, giving evidence to the Teton's height.
This painting depicts a wagon train of emigrants crossing the Western Plains of the United States in the 1860s. Visible are livestock which includes horses, cattle, and sheep. Herding the livestock through the valley, towards the sun are several people on foot and horseback. The wagon train is flanked to the left by tall, lush trees and to the right by a sheer rock wall that extends into the horizon.
This painting features the Bridal Veil Falls of Yosemite Valley. The valley is well lit by midday sunlight and the sky is clear, blue and void of clouds. The valley floor is full of lush, green trees and grass. To the left and right of the valley are massive rock walls with some vegetation on top. On the right, Bridal Veil Falls cascades over the rock face and down into an unseen location at the valley's bottom. From the vantage point, the large waterfall appears as a small trickle, giving evidence of its great distance.
This Painting features the Rocky Mountains', Mt. Rosalie. The expansive landscape includes an alpine lake surrounded by massive, jagged mountains. Dark, ominous clouds appear to close in on the valley. Through the clouds in the distant background the impressive, snow-capped peak of Mt. Rosalie. Upon close inspection, a bird can be seen soaring through the sky, appearing tiny in comparison to the colossal surroundings.
This painting depicts a Rocky Mountain landscape. In the background and covering most of the frame, are enormous snow-covered mountains extending high into the cloudy sky. In the foreground, on a green, grassy hillside are two people on horseback. One of the people is pointing towards the gigantic mountains in the distant.
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