Knowing Bruges in Belgium just a little, it beholds a medieval mystique that seems neither contrived nor obsolete even through the modern eye.
Its historic streets clearly exist in the here and now yet it seems as if, sauntering past the evocative buildings, cobbles and canals, at the turn of any corner one could muster the past into life – even with just a hint of imagination.
Henri Le Sidaner is described as an ‘intimist’ artist. He conveyed the more homely, with an intensified use of colour in a style similar to the Impressionists.
His ‘A Canal in Bruges at Dusk’ may be ’intimist’ but it also expresses something imminent.
The colours are brown, yellow and orange, green and white, conveying the flickering shadowy final embers of a dusky sky. A sky that can only be suggested at, as it is the bronzed leaves of an over-arching tree in the middle distance that frames the scene.
The eye, perhaps viewing from an adjacent bridge, is led not to the canal but by the canal – and the surrounding angular buildings that huddle in – to the yellowy glow of just one lit window.
In case that isn’t alluring enough, the certain reflection of it in the canal water ensures the eye must eventually return upwards to that same lit window.
To look, wait a while and wonder at.
Leaving the scene behind, a few – almost overlooked – distinctively deep red flowers grow discreetly along the path.
The painting is unobtrusively located on permanent display at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
© Laura Claire H 2014