Archive for August 14th, 2011

This painting by George Innes (1825-1894) was painted in 1870. It’s large,  48 3/4 x 72 5/8 in.

It’s the first of several paintings I want to look at in this blog with a certain question in mind:  what happens when you flip the image?

In this case, does it matter that the house is at the left?  Or that the people are on the left side of the painting rather than the right?

When we flip the image left-right, we keep all the information intact. But does the mood change?  Which version is more optimistic or warmer?   In which version do you identify with the people more?

When we see the painting at the Art Institute, we take it for granted that the people and the house are at the left.  But—compliments of Photoshop—we can ask, why did Innes put them on the left rather than the right?  After all, it’s not a snapshot with accidentals.  He carefully worked out a composition.  He could have put the people anywhere in the painting.  Why the left?

We will look at this left-right question over many weeks and months.  There will be paintings by Monet, Whistler, Gainsborough, Hopper, and others.  Should be fun.  More later.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.




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