Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865), Stage Rocks and Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor, 1857, oil on canvas, John Wilmerding Collection
Fitz Henry Lane, known as a
painter, based this painting on drawings he made from the center
of his hometown Gloucester's harbor. The western shore was believed
to be the place where the French explorer Samuel de Champlain landed
early in the seventeenth century. In a letter Lane noted that he had
been given "an order for a picture from this point of view, to
be treated as a sunset. I shall try to make something out of it, but
it will require some management, as there is no foreground but water
and vessels." Lane "managed" the painting beautifully,
animating the foreground expanse of water with various large
vessels arranged in a zigzag pattern that is mirrored by the contours
of the shore.
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