Embarking Upon Arcadia

I am in the throes of packing for a mini vacation with the Spouse to San Francisco ; my thoughts are turning to Bierstadt, glowing sunsets, imperial forests, delicate depictions of flora and fauna. This trip to northern California will be my maiden voyage, I have long griped of this arid City of Angels, I have heard time and again that San Francisco will reveal a gentler, more poetic California. I hope so.

Albert Bierstadt certainly saw it that way.

That said, I thought it fitting to send my readers a few pre-holiday postcards depicting his vision of Western Arcadia.

The Great Trees, Mariposa Grove, California


Sunset in California, Yosemite

A View from Sacramento


Giant Redwood Trees of California


The Berkshire Museum

As I mentioned, I miss the gentle landscape of my youth, LA may have its charms; but tender fern, downy moss and squiggly salamanders are not to be found in this unforgiving place.

The Mountain Brook


Ferns and Rocks on an Embankment


Bierstadt, although most famous for his luminous depictions of our West, ultimately moved to Nassau to accommodate the ill health of his wife Rosalie. His depictions of tropical beauty are as seductive as his redwoods.

A Street in Nassau


I particularly like his detailed studies, this ewe is a great example, the rich tangled coat a visual delight.

Study of an Ewe


Brooklyn Museum

Northern California may have changed a bit since Bierstadt first captured its golden beauty, but his depictions have been seared into my imagination. It may be a case of the idealized beauty being more significant then the actual; but from my research, San Francisco seems well deserving  of  its reputation.

Albert Bierstadt

b. January 7 1830

d.February 18 1902

Mr. Bierstadt, thank you for your luminous vision.

Until my return, wishing you well,

Babylon Baroque



8 Responses to “Embarking Upon Arcadia”

  1. Bronson Says:

    I automatically thought Hudson River School. Awesome stuff.

  2. babylonbaroque Says:

    Yes, he was part of that tradition, I love it as well,Hope your summer is going well, hope to see you in the autumn.

  3. I particularly love the fleece of that ewe. (It falls right into my current obsession for rendering the coat of a beast!) He drew it so that you feel all the world is in there.

  4. babylonbaroque Says:

    Well i certainly see that now that you mention it. I was admiring the texture of the wolf’s coat, I wish I had made the connection…

    I have an engraving , 19th century most likely, and the sheep have the most marvelous tangles. I’m loopy about sheep and goats, goats in particular.

  5. Suzanne Says:

    The painting of a mountain brook? Blur a bit and can you see the small head, undoubtedly warm and cozy under a white sheet pulled up to his/her neck, sound asleep under a big ciabatta puff of a coverlet? WIth a little bird friend watching out? No wonder it feels subliminally so quiet and tender.
    Maybe I need more coffee…
    Have a great vacation!

  6. such a wonderful inspiring blog! Congrats for your research of beauty. 🙂
    Monica from Italy

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