From the hearts of storms comes the sublime - Lars peterson

In this gallery, I’ve attempted to follow the lifecycle of a storm while at the same time capturing aspects of the sublime that can be found in the wake of destructive forces of nature. All work here was completed between 1800-1899 with greater focus on Oil on Canvas.  Thank you and enjoy the gallery!

To start off this gallery, the aptly named painting Gathering Storm by George Michel was chosen. An image with bright clouds to the left and darker clouds to the right, this work shows exactly what it is named, a gathering storm. Using the darker clouds on the right side, this sets the theme for the storm coming throughout this gallery.
Using the flat land as seen in the first work gives this bay a feel of the same storm, but through different eyes. Also, as seen, the rain has started toward the back, giving the sense of passed time. Additionally, this scene was included to give the viewer a sense of calm before the storm and anxiety as we want to make sure everyone remains safe.
Cut like scenes from a movie, this image was chosen to catch the viewer off-guard, but also to give the feeling that although over the coast the storm looks isolated, it affects everyone. Despite being much being much brighter in color than the majority of the gallery, this painting gives a great example of the oncoming fury of the storm via the use of blurring on the buildings, and also with the lines down the sidewalk and street to represent harsh winds
Now we get in to the heart of the storm. The darkest of the pictures, this work by John Martin, perfectly illustrates the despair within those stuck at sea or unable to find shelter during severe storms. With the water crashing on both sides and against the rockface, and above them only a blood red sun, there appears to be no escape from nature.
Although the storm is slowing down and the sky is getting brighter, it doesn’t always mean things are getting better. In this work, we see a city getting battered by fierce waves and lightning. Even with a flash of lightning and a bright glowing city in the background, I feel that our eyes are immediately drawn to the survivor in the center bottom, giving us hope.
Using the lightning from the previous picture as a connector, Horse Frightened by Lightning once again gives us a view of what may essentially the same bolt of lightning from two different perspectives. The terror that Delacroix painted in to the horse tells and shows us that despite how far away the lightning may have happened, the thunder was loud and fierce.
The masterful work shown in Storm presents us with the perfect transition piece. What side of the storm was represented here? Are those the first beams of sunlight and hope after such an extreme event, or have me moved on to another town and seeing the last rays of sunshine as the storm swallows it? Using dark, slightly warm colors gives the ambiguity it could be either.
Now day breaks and we enter the time after the storm. As a cloud of uncertainty lifts, another takes its place as communities are left to find their injured and/or dead. This painting gives another fork in the road for feelings. Is this an innocent life lost, or is this person laying on the beach thankful to be back on land and having survived such a storm?
In the only non-painting of the gallery, Sarah Bernhardt exquisitely conveys that not all who pass through such an ordeal emerge unscathed on the other side. In After the Storm we see a woman holding the body of her grandson who had gotten trapped in fishing nets during a storm. Additionally, the use of sculpture better portrays the true grief and sorrow she must feel.
This last painting is the perfect representation of the sublime. On a rainy but bright Paris day, a town recently having heard about the storm and the lives lost take a moment to really appreciate the small things in life that that are often overlooked until it’s too late. The faces of the people in Paris show us how content and thankful they are with their simple lives after such a devastating storm somewhere else.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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