WASHINGTON ALLSTON - RISING OF A THUNDERSTORM AT SEA 1804
This is Allston's painting Rising of a Thunderstorm at Sea. According to Gerdts and Stebbins, it is the only surviving original painting Allston painted in Paris in 1804. Allston would have seen Mantegna's painting Triumph of the Virtues at the Louvre, which may have influenced him in a way that is of interest here. There are pareidolic faces in the waves of Allston's painting, very indistinct, but sufficiently defined to be recognized as faces (right edge, just below the horizon line).
Unlike Vedder's moon on the cover of Harper's or the multiple faces in Mantegna's Triumph of the Virtues, where Vedder's and Mantegna's intentions were obvious, Allston's faces here are marginal and quite indistinct, and the waves are not obviously distorted by the addition of the faces.
|There are three very indistinct faces, plus one more, at the right edge, which is a more distinct image of a man wearing a turban (see the red oval in the marked detail image, on the left). The man with the turban faces forward, with his head turned a little to his right, positioned like the man in the #2 reference image. He wears a turban, that looks more like the turban in the #1 reference image. He also appears to have a beard. The marked image is not enlarged, because when that image is too large, the face dissolves and cannot be seen at all.
Whose woods these are I think I know,Poetry is often not about what the words literally say, but often about what the words do not actually say, but merely suggest on another level. The words say one thing, but at the same time, the words suggest ideas in addition to what was literally written. With Allston, his ideal artist's art has images that are both what the image is, and, at the same time, merely suggestive of additional images that the thing is not. As we procede, you will gradually realize, how we need an open unrestricted visual imagination, not limited by the physical context represented by the images, in order to see Winslow Homer's intended images.
His house is in the village though.