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  • Celebrated in his own time as one of the great innovators in the development of a national school of watercolor painting, Smith in his “Bay Scene in Moonlight” produced one of the very few nocturnes in eighteenth-century watercolor painting. Earlier examples are the various views by Paul Sandby of Windsor Castle on rejoicing night (three versions in the Royal Library). More likely models for Smith’s evocative nocturne are the paintings (and the prints after the paintings) of moonlight coastal scenes by the French landscape and marine painter Claude Joseph Vernet, which were often part of a set of landscapes or seascapes illustrating the times of day. The solemn stillness of Smith’s watercolor, however, seems to have less in common with the night pieces of Vernet than with the later Romantic paintings of the coast in moonlight by Caspar David Friedrich.
?:PX_curatorial_comment
  • Celebrated in his own time as one of the great innovators in the development of a national school of watercolor painting, Smith in his “Bay Scene in Moonlight” produced one of the very few nocturnes in eighteenth-century watercolor painting. Earlier examples are the various views by Paul Sandby of Windsor Castle on rejoicing night (three versions in the Royal Library). More likely models for Smith’s evocative nocturne are the paintings (and the prints after the paintings) of moonlight coastal scenes by the French landscape and marine painter Claude Joseph Vernet, which were often part of a set of landscapes or seascapes illustrating the times of day. The solemn stillness of Smith’s watercolor, however, seems to have less in common with the night pieces of Vernet than with the later Romantic paintings of the coast in moonlight by Caspar David Friedrich.
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  • Bibliograpic reference :: John Baskett, Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art : masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 269, no. 58, pl. 58, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)
  • Dimension height :: 34.0cm
  • Dimension width :: 50.5cm
  • Exhibition :: An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy
  • Exhibition :: Masters of the Sea - British Marine Watercolors
  • Exhibition :: Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art
  • Exhibition :: Presences of Nature - British Landscape 1780-1830
  • Exhibition :: The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century
  • Located in :: New Haven
  • Located in :: Not on view
  • Located in :: Yale Center for British Art
  • Object type :: drawing
  • Object type :: watercolor
  • Subject Concept :: bay (body of water)
  • Subject Concept :: boats
  • Subject Concept :: child
  • Subject Concept :: clouds
  • Subject Concept :: lake
  • Subject Concept :: landscape
  • Subject Concept :: man
  • Subject Concept :: moon
  • Subject Concept :: nighttime
  • Subject Concept :: rocks
  • Subject Concept :: ship
  • Subject Concept :: sky
  • Subject Concept :: woman
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  • ...
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  • Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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?:label
  • Bay Scene in Moonlight
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