The Far Hill

The stark light-dark contrast of The Far Hill gives the impression of luminosity for which Jan Monchablon was best known. The low vantage point puts the viewer on the level of the harvesters. He carefully leads the eye into the distance—along cart tracks and a rake in the immediately foreground, which point to haystacks and a peasant woman working, then to a cluster of trees, and finally to the distant rise of the hill.

His painting technique also helps to imply depth. Thick brushstrokes in the foreground suggest stubble and cut hay, while smooth, thin application makes distant features seem farther away. Likewise, the intensive yellow-greens and oranges of the near view pull forward from the faded pastels farther back. The color changes are explained by a brilliant sun that, judging by the small shadows, is near its zenith. The same sun paled the sky that fills more than half the painting, transforming it into a vast luminous screen.

Located in the Haggin Gallery

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