Robert Crannell Minor (American, 1839-1904)
The Long Shadows
In The Long Shadows, a solitary figure is seen walking down a lane through a wooded area. Robert Crannell Minor’s Barbizon training is apparent in this painting with a dark foreground and illuminated middle ground, as well as loose brushwork. Diagonal lines throughout the painting keep the composition of the scene active: the line of clouds parallel the line of trees; the V-shape of the trees echo the V-shape of the flying bird. The zigzag movements provide activity amidst stillness and the calmness and power of unspoiled nature. The lone figure provides a focal point in the center of work, and the viewer’s eye is drawn down a path of reddish brown shrubbery as atmospheric light creeps between the shadows of the trees. Minor rarely placed figures in his softly-rendered landscapes, but when he did they appear microscopic like the one seen here, swallowed almost completely by the presence of nature in its overwhelming splendor.