Today I would like to present two nightscapes, ‘A Devon Village’ by English painter Albert Moulton Foweraker and ‘Moonlight Impression’ by Australian painter Arthur Streeton. Both works utilize moonlight as the primarily light source with secondary light sources provided by the lantern in the former and the far-off stars in the latter. Between these two works I enjoy the variation of scenery, one urban and the other rural, which as a pair nicely complement each other.
Foweraker’s piece stood out to me because of its stark contrast of light and striking hue of blue, which lends the painting an eerie, dreamlike quality. I also enjoy all the rustic elements found within the shadows of both the dilapidated fence and the brick wall to the right. My favorite detail is the plant life seen growing on the foremost building, reaching down from the roof and meeting the edges of two windows. This work has a nice composition too, presenting a classic cityscape view which guides the eye through the structures and ultimately leading us the landscape in the background.
Streenton’s painting is much more subdued, both in color and use of light, an effect which would best be described as “muddy.” The sky, grass and road all are rendered with blotchy, visible brushstokes, which give the impression that this was a quick, first-hand observation of the scene. If you look closely at the grass you’ll notice traces of blue from the sky, balancing both halves of the painting together. On a final note, my eye keeps circling back to the curious light seen through the dark, loosely defined trees in the background. I know the title specifies “moonlight,” but perhaps this light is from the Milky Way or even a nearby city. By the 1930s I would presume cities could emit enough light pollution for this effect.