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Elk

by Albert Bierstadt

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Elk - Description

Amongst the portraits of wildlife encountered during his travels of the American West, Elk earns its place as one of the German-American painter’s finest. This is a work of oil painted on paper. The true beauty of this painting lies beyond the gawking head of the Elk in the tone of sky beyond the horizon. The Elk stands at an elevated distance from a group of buildings indicating the tendency in Romantic art to show power and beauty apart from human interaction or assistance. Beauty further lies in the subject’s positioning on the page. The Elk is balanced in the heart of a close up shot, the observer’s point at a far enough distance to capture both the hooves and antlers. Its tawny coat pops crisply against a sky of faded blue. The background appears fuzzy. The horizon appears out of focus so that attention will be drawn to the animal rather than into the endless distance. It is Bierstadt’s special attention to detail that elicits life from this painting. This is a display of nature in its wildest form, standing alone in a field along the outskirts of civilization. This image of the Elk is the spirit sought after so fiercely in Romantic writing. One can see here the same resonance in Mozart’s piano or Poe’s lyrics. It is the capturing of the creature in its most wild condition that makes this painting so spectacular and important.

Painting Details

Artwork Name: Elk

Original Artist: Salvador Dali
Subject: Landscapes
Medium: 100% Hand-painted on Canvas
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