Art History Paper

The painting by Jasper Frances Crospey entitled, Schatacook Mountain, Housatonic Valley, Connecticut was completed in 1845. It’s corresponding painting, by Albert Bierstadt entitled, View from Wind River Mountains, Wyoming was completed in 1860. Both paintings portray landscapes in the Northern United States. The compositions are fairly similar, as the sky and the land divide both paintings in half, horizontally. However, Bierstadt’s attention to composition is more effective for the viewer, in my opinion. There is human presence in both paintings, but Bierstadt’s is the only one that includes figures. While both paintings use atmospheric perspective, the artists take different approaches to creating the effect. Crospey’s color pallet is highly consistent of gritty tans and dull greens, unlike Bierstadt, who emphasizes light in his landscape and makes use of brilliant greens. They take noticeable different paths in creating these images of a realism, however, both artists capture the brilliance and beauty of nature effectively.
Both compositions portray a clear sky and are successful in bringing attention to the beauty of the distant atmosphere. Crospey’s composition is very symmetrical and to the point. He halves the painting horizontally with the sky, while placing the main mountain directly in the center as it is viewed between a tree and a rock in the foreground. Directly in front of the mountain are sloping planes that describe patches of farmland. While this composition is successful in its own way, Bierstadt is elaborates on Crospey’s efforts. To begin, he is smart with his placement of a sloping rock, which leads the eye of the viewer into the painting from left to right. As the rock slopes down, diagonally from the top left corner, a semi-distant plateau is revealed. This is followed by more distant green planes and, finally, distant mountains that blend into the far sky like clouds. Bierstadt allows the viewer to first, intimately, see the rock.