Museum Report

Museum Report

“Boats on the Nile, Dawn” is a painting by the American borne artist Jane Peterson. It was captured in the year 1910. It is oil on canvas painting, rectangular in shape with a landscape orientation. It is a painting with thick expressive brushstrokes. It captures two boats afloat early in the morning on the river Nile. In the center of the painting there are two boats, one after the other, with their sails pointing to the right of the painting; the same direction in which land is within view. This makes one infer that the boats were coming ashore at the time. On the lower edge of the painting the waves are captured breaking on the shore line, with bit of the shore sand visible in the lower right corner. In the center of the painting, just past the position of the two boats, the horizon looks very bright implying the sun rising early in the morning. To the left of the painting, in the center, dry land can be seen which forms a continuous dry area that stretches through the middle of the painting and is seen to have trees in the far right region of the center of the image. The boat to the left seems loaded with people while at the second one it is hard to make out the images of people on it. In front of these boats there appears a shape like a boat without sails that is closer to the dry land. The boat leading the way ashore appears smaller than the one behind it when the sizes of the sails are compared. On the far right of the center of the painting, the same region where vegetation is evident, one can see that there is still darkness, probably resulting from the trees blocking the early morning light that is shinning from the rising sun.

This painting is a typical example of the artist’s work. This is because it is a picture of the view of the Nile at dawn, which agrees with her impressionist style. It is equally important to realize that throughout her extensive travels in Europe, the Middle East, and the Coastal New England, she did similar picturesque views of Venice, Istanbul, and Gloucester; all these places being the ones she had visited and had been impressed with. The fact that she was a student of a renowned impressionist, the Spanish Joaquin Sorolla, makes her an impressionist by virtue of the training that she had received, and she is unlikely to have done art work in other styles; which she never did anyway. She, like many of the impressionists, travelled the world over widely, mainly to look for subject matter for their paintings.

The style of this work of art is an impressionistic style. This is because the artist, Jane Peterson, has represented the magnificent image of the Nile at dawn, with the boats traversing it. It is argued that the Nile was a great tourist attraction in Egypt from ancient times. Indeed, the tourists liked travelling to Nubia via the Nile River on boats. The fact that Jane Peterson herself visited Egypt as a tourist in the early 1900 proves that the view of this region was so captivating that she was motivated to go see it for herself and immortalize the picturesque view in painting. She does this immortalization just like she does with the other areas which she has travelled to that have impressed her; Venice included. Through her presentation of the view, many emotions arise in the viewers concerning the area, which is the main aim of the impressionist artists. The use of thick expressive brushstrokes has the great effect of capturing the nature of sea waves with their reflections in the early morning light before sunrise. The message she seeks to deliver through this painting is the beauty of Africa, in which Egypt and the Nile are found, and can serve more as an advertisement to the whole world on the magnificence and beauty therein. Another reason why the painting is grouped under the impressionistic style is that around the time of its capture (early 20th century), the European and many of the American artists had witnessed the revolution in arts which led to the birth of the impressionistic style. Thus, it is less likely that the artist could have produced a painting in the older styles. In fact, the use of gold color in her painting “Boats in the Nile at Dawn”, which is the prime color in the impressionistic style, farther reinforces this assertion. Another aspect of the impressionistic style that she has employed is the free application of paint, as observed through her use of thick expressive brushstrokes, which had come into popular use following the revolution that abandoned the older styles, which had a lot of strict rules on color use and also patterns of painting (Barasch, 2013). From the above argument, it can thus be concluded that the painting “Boats in the Nile, Dawn” by Jane Peterson is a marvelous piece of art on its own, that stands as a representative of all her other works through her career and as an immortalized view of the Nile at dawn during the early 1900s.

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