American Art · American Art of the Week · Art History

American Art of the Week: May Night by Willard Metcalf

willard_metcalf_may_night
May Night (1906) by Willard Metcalf. Corcoran Gallery of Art. [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
I thought that the title of this painting made it appropriate for today. Willard Metcalf (1858-1925) was an influential American artist from New England. He painted this work in Old Lyme, Connecticut when he was associated with the art colony there.* I love the mystery and beauty of this painting. Who is the girl? What is the building, and why is she going there at night? The neoclassical façade calls to mind an ancient temple, though why one would appear in the middle of Connecticut, I have no idea. The unexplained light source, dense foliage, and long shadows also add to its air of intrigue, as does its Impressionist style.

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