Albert Bierstadt was an American painter of German birth. His career spanned the entire second half of the 19th century, and emerged as the first technically sophisticated artist to travel to the Far West of America (Turner, 43). On this trip, he recorded his experiences through sketches and stereoscopic photographs of Indians, emigrants and members of the survey party. It was his many sketches and photographs made throughout his several trips to the West that Bierstadt used to create his paintings. Unlike many artists who are discovered after their death, Bierstadt achieved his dream of fame while in the prime of his painting. His paintings were purchased by the wealthy and titled, thus enabling him to live very comfortably.
Valley of the Yosemite by Albert Bierstadt is a beautiful landscape painting in which light, color, an utmost attention to detail, and strong lines all come together to compliment the composition. Bierstadt captures the Yosemite Valley much in the same naturalistic style as photographer Ansel Adams, the major difference being Bierstadt's use of color versus using high contrast black and white values.
Light is the most important aspect in this landscape. The sunlight slowly creeps up from behind the cliffs, and gracefully dances along the countryside illuminating the early morning scene. This sunlight is made of warm colors, and creates the feeling of a warm summer's morning, burning through the early morning haze, to clear the air as the local .
wildlife is just waking up. The light continues to lightly touch the clouds, exposing their contours, and pushing them out of the area to make way for the new day.
Bierstadt's attention to detail is very impressive. The contours of.
the clouds, the jagged rock face, the glistening of the water, the leaves on the trees all done with very small brushstrokes. A great sense of depth is established through contrast, overlapping and atmospheric perspective.