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Archive for April 16th, 2013

The flipped version, where the stripes move from lower left to upper right, feels more optimistic, doesn’t it.  There’s an UP feeling.  (See previous post.)

At the same time, the stripes get paler as we move up KensettView-on-the-Hudsonover the hilly cloth.  This creates the illusion of great distance.  We know from our everyday experience, that things that are close to us are crisp and clear, while objects in the distance appear paler and less well defined. We also know this from looking at landscape paintings.  The painter will make distant mountains look hazy and thereby create the illusion that he’s painting a great vista.

13CanistersMegLooking at this delicate pencil drawing of tea and sugar canisters on top of some ordinary cloth, we get the weird feeling that these cylinders are humongous.  How is this illusion created?  Through the simple technique of making the stripes in the cloth paler as they approach the top edge of the cloth!   That edge now looks like the crest of a hill.   We now have cloth that looks like rolling hills, like sand dunes. The eye moves up the dunes and at the top where they crest, we see absurdly large cylinders.

They look ominous. 

They look ominous in the original.  The left-right flip trivializes them. (Previous post)  I prefer the ominous effect in the original.  It’s witty. It makes me sit up straight and say, whoa, how did you do that! My thanks to the artist/student, Meg Faga.

(John Fererick Kensett (1816-1872), “View on the Hudson.”)

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