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Video transcript

we're in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston looking at fifth Henry lanes Owls Head Penobscot Bay Maine this is a place that lanes spend a good deal of time and characteristic of this American artist sometimes called a luminous we have this wonderfully quiet still moment and that's what we mean by the term luminous um landscape paintings by a number of American painters where we have a sense of calm and tranquility views of water a quality of light that allows each element of the landscape to stand out in perfect clarity but there's an overall mood of contemplative nough sand peacefulness it's so typical of American art and especially American marine painting so this is Dawne we can see the peach sky in the background and the water is still calm the winds of the day have not started the ship in the background just put up its sails and it's trying to catch whatever breeze is just beginning we look out on this space almost through the gaze of the fishermen we see in the lower left of the canvas this is very much a romantic landscape one that looks back to the traditions of Romanticism we might think about Caspar David Friedrich and the way he uses figures looking out to sea with their backs to us or we might even think about John Constable in England painting his native landscape of the store Valley and that sense of love of his native landscape and I think that we have that here with Lane there's a way that light is able to take the careful rendering of the voracity that all of this detail and clarity offers us but still render a painting it is largely poetic and that's really one of the issues that is most central to the lumen ISM that even with this high-pitched specificity there's still room for a painting that is ultimately one that is emotional that is almost transcendental I think that sense of emotion comes through because of the lack of narrative incident we're looking at a seascape but we don't see fishermen busy with activities we don't see ships coming in and unloading cargo or other kinds of narrative scenes that we might expect in a harbor light is the main protagonist not the human occupation of this space in a way for me the main protagonist is the house that we see on that tiny little island and that as you said peach colored light that we all know so well from looking at the water in the early morning we're really transported to this place I can almost hear the water lapping at the shore this painting invites a kind of careful quiet contemplation it's very different from other American landscape painting that we might think of by Albert Bierstadt or Frederick church that's really grand and operatic and sublime and says something big and those paintings are often very large and to pick sublime scenes like the Rocky Mountains or Niagara Falls but here this kind of humble quiet see the kind of different strain in American landscape painting