Salthouse Docks, Liverpool

The warmth of solitude pervades Atkinson Grimshaw's Evening Glow. In this painting, a single female figure stands in a winding country road filled with fallen leaves. The slight country girl wears a bonnet and clutches a basket while contemplating the scene around her, that of time passing. The barren tree branches and orange and brown colored leaves evoke a sense of autumn; however, the weather is still warm as the girl is dressed in only a blouse and skirt. Moreover, the orange tone of the piece creates a sense of warmth and comfort. The day, like summer, also passes. The orange hue of a sunset lights the empty road. This serene feeling is furthered by the figure's position; her back is facing the viewer. Thus, both the viewer and the figure contemplate the same scene, which allows the viewer to project himself onto the figure. Although the day is ending, a glow fills the evening that is as palpable to the viewer as to the figure.

Questions

1. Oftentimes, in landscape paintings (as seen in Turner's works) human figures are used to show the immense power and size of nature. How is the figure used here? What is her relationship to nature?

2. The figure is standing next to a wall yet looking out at open space. What is the significance of the stone wall to the figure's right? Also, what is the significance of the fences and road—signs of man's imprint on nature?

3. How does this painting compare to his cityscapes such as Salthouse Docks, Liverpool? Despite the difference in geography, how do these two scenes evoke similar emotions?

4. Where is the source of light in this painting?


Last modified 16 November 2006