Atmospheric atmosphere

DEFINITION

A feeling or mood created pictorially, it focuses on the manipulation of light and spatial affects. An artist's use of Atmospherics is an attempt to make a painting appear three-dimensional by taking into account the way atmosphere or mood affects what is seen, remembering that the further away an object is, the less detail it contains and the more blurred it becomes. Also, the meaning refers to Aerial Perspective because the evanescent effects generate a sense of air around the landscape subject. Hudson River School painter Asher Durand described Atmosphere as carrying the viewer "into a picture instead of allowing us to be detained in front of it." (Flexner, 60) In his paintings, Durand created atmosphere by manipulating degrees of light, so that there was a sense of "angry flashes" in nature, often contrasted with the more serene aspects of the prevailing mood. English painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) and French painter, Claude Lorrain, (1602-1682) were early influences on atmospherics in American painting, a major factor being their influence on Asher Durand and other members of the Hudson River School of painting such as Thomas Cole and Jasper Cropsey. Sources: Kimberly Reynolds, "Illustrated Dictionary of Art Terms"; James Flexner, "History of American Painting", Vol. III.

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