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July 18, 2019

Mid-Morning Art Thread [Kris]

Wyld Manchester Moor.jpg

Manchester From Kersal Moor
William Wyld

For this one, I decided to do a general search through an online art gallery for something I hadn’t seen before and this one caught my eye. It’s a lovely piece that combines genres, colors, and forms to create a nice image full of contrasts.

This is mainly a pastoral work with a splash of the modern cityscape through the center. The foreground and middle ground are filled with a lush green landscape. The immediate foreground is the rugged rise with trees and rocks. A few goats rest on the left, and a couple with a doggeh sit among the trees to the far left. It is peaceful and quiet. We are far away from the black, busy, crowded city. Wyld shows us that Manchester was already becoming a center of the Industrial Revolution by this time. The dank gray forms of the city are starkly angular, whereas the foreground is a gentle curvilinear, wavy with forms going off in many different directions.

The middle ground is low and flat. It provides a nice visual rest after the detail of the hills and the city and a nice barrier separating the two. The Irwell River winds through this area and guides the eye around the piece and blends in well with the landscape. Behind the city the land rises again in a nice echo of the foreground and the color melts into the sky.

This is a Realist work with Romantic influences. The romantic, idyllic pastoral is set against the realist, oppressive city, but the countryside wins out in the end. It dominates our view and the work itself. The major colors of green, white and yellow work together to overpower the dank gray. They almost succeed too, but the gray streaks across the work’s center and cannot be ignored.
Finally, Wyld does a couple of interesting things with copse of trees on the left. First, they are the only thing that intersect all three regions of the painting. The three areas are very specifically defined and could create a disjointed, patchy work, but the trees unite the regions, tying them, and the painting, together. The second thing is harder to describe, so I hope you’re able to follow me…

The shape of the canopy of the trees is mirrored in the smoke from the factories on the right. Even the tree trunks are repeated in the smokestacks. However, because the color of the smoke is more faded than the green leaves, Wyld made the area covered by the smoke larger. Both shapes come to a point to the left of center, directly under the sun. To me, they look like a set of curtains pulling back to reveal the sun. They also frame it. It’s a nice effect.

This work was created around the time Fredrick Engels was writing in Manchester, but I do not think this work has the same message at all. There is definitely a compare/contrast going on between the city and countryside but I’m not reading a vicious attack on Capitalism or a tirade on class warfare and social injustice. It’s seems to be more of a generalized country-life-vs.-city-life theme. It’s a very peaceful scene.

[Kris has graciously agreed (after much begging from me), to write an occasional art thread. Look for her name on the headline so you won't be surprised to find actual informed art criticism on these august pages]

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posted by CBD at 09:30 AM

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