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Tall, billowing, lavender-purple and shell-pink clouds line the distant horizon over a vast plain of flat grassy land in this horizontal landscape painting. Closest to us to the lower left, a tree with a gnarled trunk and round, sage-green canopy sits mostly in shadow. A river curves from near the tree to cut across most of the landscape in a tight S-shape. One plump haystack, shaped like a giant teardrop, sits near a curve of the river in the vivid, lemon-lime field, to our left of center. One brown and one white cow graze across the river, to our right. Above tawny-brown hills lining the horizon, sunlight from our left turns the tops of the band of clouds pale pink, and the undersides are grayish-purple. The sky above is turquoise. The artist signed the lower right corner, “M J Heade.”

Martin Johnson Heade, Sunlight and Shadow: The Newbury Marshes, c. 1871/1875, oil on canvas, John Wilmerding Collection, 2010.74.1

Gallery Talks

The Art of Looking

The Art of Looking

Martin Johnson Heade, Sunlight and Shadow: The Newbury Marshes

  • Friday, April 15, 2022
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Virtual Program

In honor of Earth Day and springtime, Martin Johnson Heade's Sunlight and Shadow: The Newbury Marshes is the inspiration for this interactive conversation. Join us and share your observations, interpretations, questions, and ideas, and build on your own first impressions to broaden your understanding of this work of art. This session lasts one hour and is completely interactive. 

National Gallery educators will facilitate the conversation to create an environment for shared learning. These conversations will encourage you to engage deeply with art, with others, and with the world around you as you hone skills in visual literacy and perspective-taking.

This program is free and open to the public and is designed for anyone interested in talking about art. No art or art history background is required. Ages 18 and over.

Due to the interactive nature of this program, sessions are not recorded.

Live Captions

Live captions (CART) are available in some breakout rooms for this program. Please contact [email protected] to request access or for more information.