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School of Fine ArtsThe William Benton Museum of Art

Art in Small Bites: Landscape – A way to bring culture to your lunch break

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By Rebecca Maher for the Daily Campus

This week’s edition of Art in Small Bites was lead by tour guide Nancy Silander. She introduced landscape through two paintings from the 19th century, “Boston Navy Yard” and “Low tide,” by the artists Dwight W. Tryon and Ernest Lawson respectively.

Silander made the tour incredibly interactive, keeping it centered mainly on participants’ questions and observations.

“What you see on a painting is an artist’s conversation with the viewer,” Silander said.

Every person on the tour noticed different things about the painting. With Silander providing background on the time period, artists and painting techniques, the two paintings were analyzed pretty thoroughly.

Tryon was a self-taught American painter at the time that he made this painting in 1873, who painted largely tonalist paintings. “Boston Navy Yard” was painted in mainly muted colors, which gave it the impression of an early, foggy morning. It consisted of a largely empty version of the Boston Navy Yard, with only two people in view in the entire painting. Silander pointed out that Tryon probably felt that people were unimportant in landscape, she also explained that Tryon likely sketched the painting by the water, but then returned to his home to actually paint it. This meant that the painting turned out as a more idealized landscape, in which Tryon omitted certain aspects of the Boston Navy Yard so he could focus more on technique. His largest focus in this painting was playing with light and reflection on the water. His style of painting was very smooth, with all of the colors thoroughly blended to bring about a more realistic appearance.

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