Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Painting from the Harlem Renaissance

-Unfortunately I couldn't find the title or artist for this piece-

  This piece reflects on what life was like for African Americans in Harlem by portraying a scene about community and culture. Its about cherishing one's culture and enjoying the family and friends you were blessed with. Even though this part of the city is a run down mess the people are laughing and having a good time. Here people of all ages can be seen flourishing in the companionship of one another although there environment doesn't look like the best kind of place. The church in the background shows how religion played a huge part in these people's lives as they can be seen coming to and from the church building. This painting suggests that every one is gathered for a religious event at the church seeing as how the men mostly in suits and the women are in nice dresses. Also
 The Harlem Renaissance theme portrayed in this painting is identification with race. Especially in this time period religion played a huge role in a colored person's life. The focal point of this painting is the church although it is subtle. The viewers eye naturally follows the road towards the church and everything in this piece such as the perspective and the buildings lead toward it. This ties into how this painting portrays community; it is saying that church was a large part of community during the Harlem Renaissance time period. It looks like all the people are gathered for a religious service which also shows how important religion was to the Negro community.
  I chose this painting because honestly in was of the most interesting ones that came up under a Google search of 'Harlem Renaissance paintings". Unfortunately I couldn't find the title but that's also part of why I chose it is because I have no hint of how the artist intended this to be interpreted. If there had been a title for it it would have been easier to understand what it was about. Also religion was a large part of the Negro community and this painting accurately portrays that. I thought that it would make for an interesting analysis.  
  I like this painting because of the friendly atmosphere and sense of community it gives off. I think the artist made a good choice with the neutral color palette because it gives the painting a laid back, relaxed feeling. I also like how this painting isn't super refined like how some of the details are kind of rough and the colors aren't completely blended. The perspective is simple but its really well thought out because it leads the viewer's eye straight to the focal point which is the church. I also like it because at first it seemed kind of mysterious to me, like at a first glance it made me wonder why all these people were gathered around and what for.


  1. I really like the picture that you selected I think you did an amazing job at analyzing it. I thought when you said "this painting isn't super refined and the colors aren't completely blended" I totally agree with you!

  2. I'm pretty sure the painting is "Midsummer Night in Harlem" (1936) by Palmer Hayden.