A chance conversation with a friend brought up the name of an artist she recently admired in a local cultural center. He is Nikolai Astrup, a Norwegian painter, much in shadow for the world outside Norway because of the more illustrous Edvard Munch, who was both his contemporary and a towering figure.
Edvard Munch brings to mind ‘The Scream‘, the expressionist painting he is best known for. It depicts the agony of a mysterious sexless figure. The foreground is distorted yet a balance is restored in the form of a plunging perspective of the roadway and the fence.
While Munch was very popular all over the world, Nikolai had a loyal following only in his native land. His landscapes are characterized by bold lines and clear bright colours.
A glance at his intensely colourful paintings with dark undertones of meaning present a world that is observant. Nikolai does not step into his paintings; he stands at a distance and observes. The landscapes have a fairytale quality. His art is at once eerie and sublime.
Technically, his paintings shun the aerial perspective used by artists and painters to show objects that are farther off. Perhaps, it is for this reason that they seem like the offspring of an intense and brooding imagination.
Another favourite painter is Vincent van Gogh whose painting ‘Starry Night’ has one of the most dramatic skies ever seen just as the brilliantly orange hue of the sky in Edvard Munch’s ‘ The Scream’. The landscapes painted by Van Gogh at San Remy’s employs the technique of three point perspective masterfully.
Mostly self taught, Van Gogh’s prolific drawings made him an expert of the technique of linear perspective. His painting, ‘The Café at Night’, is a bold example of one point perspective.
Inspired by these paintings, a walk through the alleys and the narrow by lanes in the heart of the town presented this sight that leapt out to me. It was a perfect single vanishing point.
Another painting, ‘Paris Street, A Rainy Day ‘ by Gustave Caillebotte is an excellent example of a two point perspective because of the way the roads and buildings are arranged in the painting.
Here is my take.
A three point perspective is when a painting or a photograph has three vanishing points. This makes the subject rather intriguing.
Last year when I visited the most popular church in a North Indian hill station, I stepped up close, looked up and snapped a picture. The majestic cathedral rose up high in the clouds.
*All of my photographs have been tweaked to make them look like oil paintings.