Working perilously close to the rocks along LABRADOR’s rugged coastline, an American brigantine deftly maneuvers out of harm’s way in this stirring example of William Bradford’s mastery of the marine genre. The vessel heels sharply as she swings across the following wind and into the safety of deeper waters offshore. She is quite probably a sealer, working out of the Port of St. Johns, Newfoundland, reputed to be the oldest city in all of north America.
This is a well balanced composition. The geometry of the ship’s masts and spars, centrally positioned between the shore and an ominous low lying cloud bank, accent the prominence of the horizon and magnificently layered sky. The realistic texture of the sea and its inherent reflective qualities profoundly illustrate Bradford’s abundant knowledge of the sea’s nature.
Relying foremost on strong oppositions of light and dark for expressive effect, Bradford expertly acknowledges the important qualities of pictorial contrast and uses his diverse skill to capture his vision of the natural and often challenging state of the isolated northern region.
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