Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Samantha de Waal Malefyt
Mrs. Wierenga
11 October 2007


This drawing is titled Nocturne and it was created by James Abbott McNeill Whistler in 1878. This piece was done with lithotint with scraping. In the foreground of the drawing is a solitary man on a small vessel in a lake that stretches into the middle ground. In the background, there is the outline of a town and some hills.

In this drawing, Whistler uses a lot of blending in order to create a smooth, foggy texture over the lake and the background. The soft, undefined lines also add to the texture of the painting. The extra shading on the man and the boat create emphasis and add value to the elements in the foreground. The light shading in the middle ground compared with the darker shades in the fore- and backgrounds gives the viewer a sense of the space between the man in the foreground and the town in the background.

In the picture, it seems that the man is out on the lake in the very early morning, because of the foggy atmosphere around him and the peaceful state of the lake. The man appears to be totally isolated and separated from civilization, like he is enjoying a sort of escape. Its seems that he is enjoying the clear morning on the still lake before the rest of the town wakes up and goes off to work and disturbs the peace.

I really like this drawing because it has a real sense of peace about it. It makes me feel relaxed and after looking at it for a few minutes, I immediately felt calmer. I think this piece is successful because it shows a very unique and striking atmosphere, which is something Whistler was trying to show. The drawing definitely shows a peaceful, serene atmosphere that is obvious and striking to even the casual observer.

Works Cited

Whistler, James Abbott McNeill. Nocturne. 1878. The Metropolitan Museum
of Art. New York. 11 October 2007. < dep="9&viewmode="0&item="17%2E3%2E159">.


cindy said...

I like this drawing,too! I think it really makes me to feel calmed and relaxed. But why do you think that this artist made a name of this drawing piece 'Nocturne'? He could make another name beside it. What other names do you recommend beside this name?

samantha said...

I think the drawing is called "Nocturne" because it looks like it is set during the night time--or in like the early morning. If I was titling the painting, I would call it something like "escape" or "peace".

SLW said...

Interesting! Does anyone else want to weigh in with a title suggestion?