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Merced River, California

by Albert Bierstadt

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Merced River, California - Description

Merced River, California is German-American Romantic Albert Bierstadt of the Rocky Mountain and Hudson River School’s second painting in the Merced River series alongside Merced Oil, Yosemite Valley. This piece, done in oil, was created during one of the artist’s many trips painting the American West. Its purpose, as with many Romantic pieces of that time whose scenes reject the rationality and logic so common in the Enlightenment, is for the river to take on the role as the subject and thus act as a life force, a symbol of fertility and growth independent of human touch. The painting is merely a window into a natural scene. There is no gaudy excess beyond the Romantic addition of excess light meant to heighten the fantastic splendor of sunlight hitting golden leaves. In the trees beyond the river, a dramatic flare of orange compliments the radiant glow and is a stark reminder as to why this can stand as a masterpiece without the insertion of any independent objects. To add anything human to this painting would disrupt the delicate point of making the river act as the sole subject winding its snakelike way incessantly through a forest of gnarled limbs. branches. The river’s force is what makes this painting Romantically driven. That is not to say there are no formal elements at work in this painting. The river’s border acts as a barrier, cutting the visual center and therefore creating a wall whose borders hold back the dramatic light encroaching on the dark, verdant woods. Even the river holds a pristine quality to it, allowing the artist’s style of a distinct reflection of trees on its glassy surface.

Painting Details

Artwork Name: Merced River, California

Original Artist: Albert Bierstadt
Medium: 100% Hand-painted on Canvas
Shipping Cost: FREE
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