Central Park by Maurice Brazil Prendergast
Central Park by Maurice Brazil Prendergast

Central Park, 1914

Maurice Brazil Prendergast

In this painting, Prendergast captured Central Park’s festive energy on a summer day. He creates a busy image using dense pigments, juxtaposing complementary colors, and focusing on form over detail to show us the three-part traffic system of Central Park: at the top, we see carriages; behind the benches, horses with riders; and in front, pedestrians. The women’s clothing — Gibson-girl dresses, cinched at the waist, broad-brimmed hats and parasols — and the presence of horse-drawn carriages as opposed to cars and bicycles — dates this to sometime before the automobile was popularized.

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