Lake Scene, Gifford, 1866, Formal Analysis

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Lake Scene, 1866 Sanford R. Gifford’s Lake Scene is a landscape painting, which highlights the calm atmosphere that comes with Autumn. The painting shows a sloping meadow of yellowed grass, adjacent to a colorful autumn-colored forest of trees. Behind the forest, is a blue lake, that is bordered by mountains on the opposite side. Gifford applies sfumato into his painting, creating a gentle and relaxed feel to the scene. Through his uses of color choices, lighting, line, and perspective techniques, Sanford R. Gifford is able to create a very tranquil and relaxed feeling as the viewer studies this painting. First, the color that Gifford chooses to use in his landscape painting is a direct reflection on the calming mood he intends to evoke from the viewer. The color scheme of golds, yellows, and oranges that dominate the painting are the colors of autumn. They are comforting colors, that create a peaceful and serene feel to the painting. The colors blend well together, yet he is able to distinguish each individual shape by the different shades, allowing the painting to still seem realistic. The shadows created are positioned just right that also are realistic, that although the viewer cannot see the sun (light source) in the painting, they are able to approximate exactly where it is outside of the painted scene. Gifford uses sfumato as a major lighting technique, which creates a haziness that is calming to the reader. This haziness is still able to portray a natural light throughout his painting. The natural light is coming from mainly the top right of the painting, and is able to light the background of the painting, as well as the very front of the foreground. By having the background lighted and the brightest part of the painting, the artist is able to paint the background less sharp and in focus than the rest of the painting, which distinguish the different

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