Storm King on the Hudson by Samuel Colman

October 18, 2010

The image depicts the large mountain of Storm King on the right half, which was known as Butter Hill because of its delicate, soft rounded shape. Colman does the mountain justice in painting it in the soft-edged way that he did. Colman uses the mountain as one of his focal points, almost exaggerating its height. While the rest of the image has a very light, whimsical feel the mountain and the ship are the only objects that he stressed as dark and harsh. In the foreground, a small fishing boat stays near the shore, which is really the only action in the piece. In the background, next to the mountain is a large barge. The barge almost appears as an antagonist to the mountain and to the life of the fishermen. The barge/large industry/factory will be the demise of the mountain and the demise of local ways of life. It is important to note that the painting is almost perfectly divided in half by these two ideas: the barge is one the left and the fisherman and Storm King are on the right, feuding against each other for attention or importance. I really like the contrast between the yellowish, saturated feel of the rest of the image to the three main objects. The main objects, the barge, the mountain, and the fishing boat, are all very dark shades of brown, gray, and hints of black. I also saw a version of this image in full color, where the water was blue and the background was bluish green with a dark brown barge and brownish mountains and it just did not have the same impact as the original image by Colman.

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