The old church on the banks of the river, Frits Thaulow
The old church on the banks of the river - Frits Thaulow. 1895. Oil on canvas. 91.5x72 cm
The works by the Norwegian Norwegian impressionist Frits Thaulow created in small provincial towns and modest towns are rightfully considered to be the most soulful and beautiful ones. You will not find any catchy textured buildings and breathtaking mountain landscapes shown on them. Thaulow decided to depict an old church with a Gothic tower, standing close to a river with flooded trees. This is poetry in simplicity or simplicity in poetry.
Typical for the artist, no people on the painting, and Thaulow assigns the role of the main character to water. A living, flowing river sets the general mood for the work. With the finest attention, the artist showed the ripples caused by a small current. This hardly noticeable movement on the water is depicted in a remarkably realistic manner.
Thaulow remained a true follower of the realism until the very end of his life, adding the light and air environment, which were traditionally used by the Impressionists. This painting is one more example where we can see a special atmosphere and crystal-clear air, making the colors of nature shine even brighter, as well as a light blue sky, being reflected in the uneven water surface.
The plot is built in a way allowing to include the viewer in the composition, and to achieve the effect of presence. It might seem for the viewer that he is sitting on the riverbank, admiring the view that opens through the black trunks of mature trees and the graceful camps of young trees. The buildings located on the shore are well balanced - squat, low Norwegian houses are and the thin gabled roof covering the old church.
The color palette amazes with its lightness and freshness. When looking at the painting fragmentarily, one can notice the number of the pure colors used by the artist - green applied in imaging the meadow, blue used in the interpretation of the river flow, and white in the mirror image of the sky.
This painting full of light and air was appreciated by the public, just like all other works by Thaulow. This is quite a rare example of the master being understood and recognized by the contemporaries during his lifetime.
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