View of HamiltonEnlarge image

View of Hamilton, 1853

Robert R. Whale
British, Canadian, 1805 - 1887
oil on canvas
90.6 x 120.8 cm
Purchased 1949
National Gallery of Canada (no. 4950)

When the British-born artist Robert R. Whale immigrated to Canada in 1852, already in his forties, he settled near Brantford, and he would remain there for the rest of his life. The compositional devices employed in this View of Hamilton, unquestionably his masterpiece, are reminiscent of Claude Lorrain: a few skilfully placed trees in the foreground frame a vista that includes a small town in the distance, while the sense of vast space is accentuated by the tiny scale of the human figures. Evidently an excellent observer, the painter has rendered the trees and rocks most convincingly, adding to the picture's appeal.




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