On The Ohio River Summary

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In the early to the mid eighteenth century, American landscape paintings underwent a revolution from beautiful images of nature to landscapes that were used to articulated beliefs, opinions, and reflect society. Dated to1840, the “On the Ohio River” was painted in the middle of a multi-faceted discussion regarding mankind and nature. In the case of “On the Ohio River”, I argue that with his placement of humans, man-made mechanics, and the color scheme, this artist is discussing main arguments on the relationship between humans and nature and the value of nature. A main element in the artwork is the inclusion of humans integrated into the work. Beginning in the foreground, a male human figure holding a rifle as if he is going hunting looking…show more content…
In the forward-most foreground, in the right corner is the image of a tree stump placed in a clear, grassy area with its trunk laying to the right of it. The artist clearly shows the axe’s impression by having it flat on both sides of the trunk cleanly cut with a peeve of wood that wasn’t cleanly cut in the middle of the trunk. I believe this is to give the viewer a clear impression, that the tree was purposefully taken down instead of fallen naturally. This juxtaposes the other half tree in the bottom left corner. Painted with brown and darker murkier colors, the half tree looks almost like it was hit with lightning or another natural occurrence instead of purposefully taken down by humans. The half-trees could have been included for numerous reasons such as the artist dismantling a possible notion that trees only get taken done by humans, or even so far as comparing a man’s power to chopping down a tree to something as sublime as a natural occurrence. Looking at the painting structurally, the artists employs techniques such as space, scale, and medium to further elude to the overall point of the painting. Using fall colors to depict the natural landscape and the intermittently matching humans, the color palette used by the artist gives off an overall tone of calmness and serenity. The land as it recedes into the background of the painting, shifts to the lighter blue tones as the forest gets less dense and is replaced with patches of clear land with specific sections of dense trees. The colors used create a cohesiveness between the natural landscape and humans, but the variance in forest shows the powers of a human’s power. However, the depiction of humans in the landscape are painted so minuscule that a viewer could easily miss them at first glance. To me, this conveys the idea of nature’s power and its dominance over man. Perhaps, this painting is be used to push the point of the
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