How gorgeous is this? I saw this today and it just took my breath away. This lovely oil painting is called Shipping on the Clyde by John Atkinson Grimshaw and can be found at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Grimshaw, born in 1836, was known for his land- and cityscapes and nighttime paintings. Heavily influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, his works featured realistic representations of urban life, bustling shipping areas and docks, and scenes featuring a transition from light to darkness or vice-versa.
As one well acquainted with the night (Thank you, Mr. Frost), I’m always drawn to night paintings, especially ones with such strikingly warm lighting as this one. The fading light of the sunset to the right of the image contrasts with the bright light of the shops and storefronts; a new sun rises as another sets. The strong lines of the masts also mirrors the lines of the buildings, creating a complimentary symmetry in this dock scene. The hues of blue used in this particular painting speak to me on a spiritual level; it’s like he knew all my favorite blues and joined them together on a single canvas. According to Wikipedia, “Whistler remarked that “I considered myself the inventor of Nocturnes until I saw Grimmy’s moonlit pictures.” (I have to say, I always love finding out that yes, in fact, all the famous people did know and hang out with each other.) You can see another wonderful sampling of his paintings here and I’m sure I’ll feature them again.