Northern River (1914-15) by Tom Thomson

Northern River - Tom Thomson - 1915

Artwork Information

TitleNorthern River
ArtistTom Thomson
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions115.1 x 102 cm (45 3/4 x 40 1/4 in.)
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationNational Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

About Northern River

“Northern River” is an oil on canvas artwork created by Tom Thomson in 1915, associated with the Post-Impressionism movement. Measuring 115.1 x 102 cm, this landscape genre painting is part of the collection at the National Gallery of Canada located in Ottawa.

The artwork presents a dense view of a Canadian wilderness landscape with a focus on the intricacies and vitality of the natural environment. Stark, leafless trees dominate the foreground, their intertwined branches creating a lace-like screen through which the river and the distant lands can be seen. A rich array of colors imbues the scene with a sense of vibrancy, even amid the apparent stillness of the woods. Patches of sky can be glimpsed through the interlacing branches, reflecting a diversity of hues that suggest a dynamic interplay of light and shadow. Thomson’s brushwork adds texture and a tactile quality to the canvas, emulating the rough and untamed spirit of the northern landscape he so admired. The composition pulls the viewer’s eye through the trees to the calm river below, evoking contemplation and a profound appreciation for the serene yet wild setting.

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