Museum Visit Paper – Ante Meridian by Frederick Waugh
My family and I recently visited the Orlando Museum of Art in Orlando, Florida. The museum enjoys a seemingly eclectic collection of artifacts, sculptures, photographs, and paintings. While perusing the gallery I was fascinated by one painting in particular. The piece was called “Ante Meridian”, oil on board, c.a. 1935 by Frederick Judd Waugh (American 1861-1940). This representational painting was of a presumably north eastern coast line where waves were battering the cliffs and rocks during a stormy day. The sky was ominous yet you don’t see the rain falling. The sun appears to illuminate a jetty in the distance giving you the impression that the storm was passing. The focal point of the painting is a rather large wave, cresting, foaming, and crashing against the cliff wall set off in the left foreground and at the same time overwhelming a smaller set of rocks in the lower foreground. We catch the wave just after impact, slashing backwards into the surf. Waugh’s brush work was loose and open, yet still showed surprising detail in the rock and cliff formations. The paint was heavy, thickest on the wave caps and froth, textured to give you a feeling that the wave was jumping off the board. Waugh seemed to employ the impasto technique in specific areas of the painting where he wanted to emphasis a rich tactile surface. The art work was physically very large in comparison to the other pieces in the gallery. It measured 45 inches by 65 inches. It was prominently placed in the center of the room on its own wall which seemed barley large enough to hold the frame. This, I believe, added to the overwhelming I got when I studied this Waugh’s work. My first response when I turned the corner and saw Ante Meridian was to stop in my tracks and stare at it. It is a very powerful piece. I exclaimed to my wife that I had found the piece of art I wanted to write about. I love this painting...
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