Art Analysis: Midsummer Night in Harlem, by Palmer Hayden
‘Midsummer Night in Harlem is an oil painting painted by Palmer Hayden. Palmer C. Hayden was an American painter who depicted African-American life as he saw it, especially during the Harlem Renaissance. The painting Midsummer Night in Harlem appears to depict African American people departing and relaxing after an evening at church in Harlem. This painting shows the energy and positive attitudes of the people through the use of vibrant colors and the happy expressions of the faces. The people in this picture have features that were comparable to the minstrel characters (Wikipedia, 26 July 2013) often depicting Black face. Many have very dark skin with big white eyes and teeth, and are all smiles. All of the people are dressed nicely in dresses for the women and girls, top hats and slacks for the men and boys. It is safe to assume that the people in the picture had just came from church, because in the background you clearly see the church and a handful of people walking out as well as a carload of people driving off.
The most prominent line in this art work would be vertical, because it leads the eye up /down and down/up and conveys the activity in the picture. Upon first inspection of this work, my eyes are drawn to the church as focal point, mainly because of the positioning of the church and the use of the vertical line from the moon to the kid at the fire hydrant. This identifies the viewers’ point of view and also shows how the moon is used as the light source, as well as the street light positioned just in front of the church. The illusion of space around the church leading up to the moon in the sky is utilized to draw your eye upward as if to signify that it is nighttime. The illusion of depth is utilized here in many ways by the appearance of distance created from the people by the church in back to the increase of people by the apartment steps in front. Aerial perspective is used in this...
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