This first piece is Clearing in the Forest, by Narcisse-Virgile Diaz de la Pena. It is an oil piece on canvas from the year 1863. I really enjoy Pena's use of light to illuminate the clearing from an almost central point in the background. The trees and shadows create interesting depth and the small subjects allow the viewer to imagine themselves in the environment.
Afterglow on the banks of the Nile, c. 1840-1848, is by far one of my favorite pieces found in the BMA. This French painting, by Jean-Adrien Guignet, was made during the romantic era of art and is not an accurate depiction of the Nile, but it is beautiful. The horizon line splits the painting quite low, leaving a large portion of space for the sky. The color fade to create a well blended sunset with just small hints of dark detail to give the painting character.
My favorite piece in the Baltimore Museum of Art is Venice, the Grand Canal with Santa Maria della Salute, by Francesco Guardi, in 1750. Guardi painted what was known as view paintings during the era of the Grand Tour, a time when artists traveled around Europe to visit the best artworks known to man at the time. This painting of Venice, and many others, were sold as if they were postcards, so that travelers could have a keepsake of the city. I enjoy the symmetry of this piece greatly. The cathedral in the background sits as a center vanishing point for the lines of the canal and its buildings. This painting is about 3 ft by 4 ft and the tiny architectural details are stunning. Along with the composition and small detail, I find the choice of colors quite intriguing. The painting is dark, reflecting the underlying turmoil that was occurring in Venice at the time of the Grand Tour, but Guardi wanted to make his city look as best as it could. He most definitely does that with this painting.