Eyes On the Horizon- Rick Jackson

This gallery will explore the use of color and spatial perspective in artist's depictions of skies in paintings and other mediums. I will explore several galleries on the Google Art Project site in order to find art that shows the sky from different times of day and from separate eras throughout history in order to compare and contrast how color was used to depict the sky, especially in relation to its subjects.

The Garden of Gethsemane is a painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder made circa 1518. It is of Christ praying in the aforementioned garden just before his arrest and crucifixion. The artist chose a solemn dusk sky instead of a bright blue one to better fit the theme. The sky is filled with rolling black clouds edged with red, and a yellow expanse underneath. Spatially, the sky appears far away and we do not see it meet the land, perhaps to represent the spiritual distance the Son felt from the Father when He was afraid, as he knew what was to come.
The Moselle Bridge, Coblenz by Joseph Mallord William Turner is a watercolor and graphite painting of a bridge in Germany. The colors here are soft on the eyes. I see shades of beige and cream and also blue where the bridge meets the water and also in the sky. Although the blue is concentrated in the middle, and the artist decided not to completely render the subject of the painting, the recognizable patterns, shapes, colors, and the way they are positioned in the space helps us see a bridge over water under a blue shy in the distance, but perhaps surrounded by a thick fog.
Portrait of a Young Man is a portrait of an anonymous man by Vincenzo Catena. It was painted in 1510. The juxtaposition of the cloudy blue sky in the background with the man in detail-less black clothing causes his head to appear to pop forward in the picture. This is enhanced by the use of clouds taking up space in the midground.
Sky Light, painted in my birth year of 1988, is a collage created by Thomas Yeo. The use of layering brown over just peaks of sky blue makes this picture appear as though you are laying down and staring up at the sky through holes in a dilapidated roof. In order for the sky to have a natural appearance, there is a mess of purple and white hues that appears to be a cloud in the larger portion of sky.
This landscape photo of the sea and sky, taken in Sete in southern France, was taken by Gustave Le Grey. Called The Breaking Wave, it was accomplished at a time when photographs of objects in motion was uncommon using shorter exposure time. Our eyes are pulled towards lighter colored spaces, but with the sepia tone and Grey's choice to expose the photo in a manner that gives us detail in both the sky and ocean, our eyes don't mostly see the breaking wave, but get to take in the lighter colored sky over the sailboat as well. Also, having the sky take an equal amount of space as the ocean gives it presence.
Massacre of the Innocents, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, was created between 1565 and 1567. It is a reimagining of an event from the Gospel of Matthew, where King Herod ordered the murder of all children under two in Bethlehem, when Jesus was born. Bruegel chooses to depict the scene in the dead of winter, and the sky reflects exactly that. It is a bright, cold baby blue, and the sky is filled with whispy strands of cirrus clouds, reminding me of the winter sky in North Carolina from my childhood. the sky takes up a small portion of this painting, as it is not the subject here, but it adds depth and is necessary in setting the scene and telling us which one of nature's season's we are seeing.
The Study of the Sky, from around 1888 - 1895, is a painting by Eugene Boudin, who made many works depicting the sky. He did this enough so that he seemed to have cornered the market on sky studies, and it shows it the detail in this painting. Shown in this painting is the daytime sky, shown in a rich blue that wraps all around the multi-colored clouds and is only interrupted by the grey ground or cliff edge at the bottom. The thick clouds give dimension to the painting and appear to hang in different planes than the other.
Thomson No. 7 (Stormy Sky) by Douglas Coupland, is in fact not a painting, but a photograph of a Canadian landscape that he has reduced to flat, geometric shapes of color. Despite this, the subjects of the photo are apparent. At the bottom is some sort of land mass, which meets what appears to be the sea and above it a vast sky filled with thunderous black and grey clouds. The lighter colors above contrast with the darker landmass below, drawing your eyes to storm-filled sky.
This stainless steel sculpture from Sky Park in Seoul, Korea is called the Gate of Sky. Erected in 2011, it was built by Park. Choong Heum and consists of numerous triangles meticulously pieced together into this structure. At the top is a cloud-shaped hole that allows daylight through and casts onto the benches below. As impressive as the structure is, its true centerpiece seems to be the sky itself, as the spaces in between the triangles allow in skylight that seems to dance and move around the flower in the middle. This is also due to the use of positive and negative space, as the eye is drawn to light.
This is a watercolor and gouache painting constructed by Samuel Palmer. It depicts a tranquil riverside at dusk, and includes a resting family on the right and a castle on the right. The use of space here, especially in relation to the sky, is interesting in that it is difficult to surmise the size of objects. Looking at the size and color distribution of the waves in the river in the foreground, the castle appears to be small, modest and close by. This causes the mountain behind it to decrease in size. The portion of the painting that changes my perspective so that the castle appears to be huge and far away is the sky. The sky seems to spread across a vast expanse and far into the distance, seemingly achieved by the deep purple fading into a lighter blue color and long horizontal stripes of orange across the horizon. The sky alone is what adds size, as our spatial reasoning causes us to understand that the rest must be larger in relation to the sky.
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