View of a Lake

View of a Lake

c. 1830s

Thomas Doughty

(American, 1793-1856)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 53.3 x 69.6 x 7.6 cm (21 x 27 3/8 x 3 in.); Unframed: 38.5 x 55 cm (15 3/16 x 21 5/8 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1963.574

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Description

Contrasting the many American landscape painters who conveyed nature's supremacy through raging storms and blasted trees, Doughty emphasized the quiet power of the outside world in his idyllic paintings. Largely self-taught, the artist often drew from nature and skillfully transformed his detailed observances into soft, poetic depictions of the landscape. This work exhibits Doughty's favorite device: the insertion of small figures in the center of the middle ground. The scale of the two boys on the lake's edge allows the viewer to focus on the expansive scenery, thereby emphasizing the diminutive nature of man in relation to the vast landscape.

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