Monday, August 19, 2019

John Singer Sargent - "The Black Brook" at the Tate Britain

We arrived in London, and our first stop was the Tate Britain. It was exciting to see this painting by John Singer Sargent that I have never even seen in print before. I love the overall composition of this painting. The abstract qualities of the brook, rocks and grasses behind the figure keep them as secondary. I also love that the figure is half in shade and half in direct sunlight, adding a sense of volume.

"The Black Brook"
• John Singer Sargent
• c.1908
• Oil on Canvas
• 21 3/4" x 27 1/2”

Just look at the way those hands are painted. The strokes are just as juicy and confident as the surrounding fabric of the dress. I feel as though the hands are the true focal point of the painting.

I'm not as thrilled with the handling of the face on the figure. I am not one to generally criticize Sargent, and it is a beautiful painted face, but to me, it feels a bit over-rendered and smoothly painted in comparison to the rest of the piece, making it somewhat flat. When compared to the cool darks in the shadows of the hands, her face also appears a bit too light in value.

Photos by Kimberly at Saunders Fine Arts.

© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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