Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Winslow Homer, West Point, Prouts Neck

Winslow Homer, West Point, Prouts Neck, 1900
30x48 in.

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) was an American painter and printmaker who worked in landscapes and seascapes.  He began his artistic career as a commercial illustrator and was mostly self-taught.  His works chronicle the scenery Homer observed throughout his travels and especially from his home in Maine.  Prouts Neck is a peninsula in southern Maine where Homer had his studio.  From there he had a view of the sea, overlooking Cannon Rock.  This painting of Prouts Neck is a beautiful depiction of the rocks and sea there.  Particularly fascinating to me is the plume of sea foam that bursts from the waves.  It looks like a coil of steam or even a protruding arm stretching into the sky.  The sea itself is depicted in beautiful shades of bluish grey that shines in a metallic way.  The intense sheen contrasts perfectly with the dark masses of rock, where Homer skillfully conveyed the rough texture.  The scene is presided over by the brilliant sunlight, golden and deep red at the horizon.  As the ocean stretches into the distance the reflection of the sunlight becomes visible, and the water appears much calmer than in the foreground among the rocks.  These elements help convey the vastness of the ocean and the scale of the scene we are viewing.

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