Blog 5 – Lightning flow

Select any one painting explored today and describe it creatively in either prose or verse, bringing all its details into focus.
Eugene von Guérard, Waterfall, Strath Creek (1862)

During our visit at the Art Gallery of NSW, I was immediately captivated by Eugene von Guérard’s paintings of nature, not just by the unbelievable details but by the message behind them. My personal favorite was Waterfall, Strath Creek (pictured above). What captured my eyes from afar was the fact that the subject of the painting, the waterfall, interestingly resembles a ray of lightning. After a longer look, I also noticed how clean the water looked, unpolluted and free-flowing. It was a scenery made by the spontaneity of mother nature, without human interference; such a rare sight is hard to find today. Guérard included himself as well as his travelling companions at the top and the bottom of the waterfall as the tiniest figures which would be easily ignored without closer inspection. By doing so, he emphasized the grandness of the scenery as well as the insignificance of human, which was a common theme during the Romantic era. From beneath the waterfall looking up, it seemed as if the stream flows down from the sky, oozing out endlessly and vigorously from the white glowing clouds flowing through. We are but a tiny speck of dust next to a grand wonder, quite intimidatingly so but also humbling, as there is no other option but to admire such a stunning jewel. It is a great painting that focuses on the freedom of nature, unrestricted and unique, all complete opposites of the industrialism at the time, when all had to be monotonous and precise with little room for creativity. Creativity and individuality were hardly of use, and humans were disappearing into machines. In my opinion, besides the aesthetics aspect, this is a Romantic expression with a subtle message of protest against society in the past.


2 thoughts on “Blog 5 – Lightning flow

  1. Dear Jamie,

    I found this post to be really engaging! Your style of writing fit the free-flowing nature of the artwork itself, yet you also touched on the elements of romanticism found in the artwork. I didn’t see much of what you pointed out in this painting during my visit of the gallery, so this was a really refreshing take on an artwork I otherwise would have sadly overlooked. Your ability to point out remarkable shapes and aspects of nature embedded in a painting that seemed otherwise ordinary was perhaps my favourite part of your post. The idea of the waterfall looking like a bolt of lightning was something I found really interesting and compelling. My only piece of advice for you, however, would be to break up your text into two or three paragraphs, just to break up your ideas a little.


  2. Hi Jamie,

    I really like how you’ve thoroughly explained why you liked this painting. I found that your ideas and interpretation of the painting was very interesting to read. However, it was quite hard to follow as there were several sentences that needed to be separated into different paragraphs. Also, “emphasized” is spelt “emphasised”. Other than that, keep up the good work!


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