As earlier discussed, each piece of art has their specific narrative and story to convey to the viewers through traditional themes, symbols, and motifs. New Jersey Meadows is striving to pass a similar message as Echo Lake, more or less in a comparable way. While most American people thought of destroying the nature for personal gains, the two artists wished the opposite. They desired to show the world the beauty of the American landscape and influence them to have the same opinion. They created the paintings as natural without the presence of humanity to show the beauty of nature without human interference. In doing so, they carefully thought about the setup and composition of their paintings. Johnson's New Jersey Meadows is different from Bierstadt's Echo Lake in that it is more horizontal and flat. The visual effect provided by the sky appears to dominate the whole painting. This effect was intentional as the artist wanted to assist the viewers better understand the theme
CONTEMPORARY ART HISTORY 6 of the painting, which is the divine presence in the innocent nature. While the composition of a painting is significant, Johnson did not utilize it well. Also, the aspect of balance seems to be lacking in the painting as the proportion of the main environmental features, which are the haystacks seems to overshadow the animals as well as the hills in the background ( GRIGAUT, 1947 ). Conclusion Echo Lake is an oil on canvas painting depicting a small lake surrounded by a small mountain and vegetation. Bierstadt arranged and manipulated visual components in this painting to achieve a unified and consistent piece of art. Echo Lake is much comparable with New Jersey Meadows by Martin Johnson Heade made in 1875, around the same time. The two paintings have a lot in common, and can easily be compared and contrasted against each other. In summary, both Echo Lake and New Jersey Meadows exhibited a lot of similarities regarding their use of color and light to express their theme. However, the contrast comes in regarding their composition, whereby Echo Lake utilized a diagonal approach while New Jersey Meadows employed a more horizontal approach. However, they both express the same message of nature preservation.
CONTEMPORARY ART HISTORY 7 References GRIGAUT, P. L. (1947). TWO PAINTINGS by MARTIN HEADE. Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts of the City of Detroit , 27 (1), 16-19. Lake, E., & Mountains, F. (2000). Albert Bierstadt. The Smith College Museum of Art: European and American Painting and Sculpture, 1760-1960 , 130.
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