The Three Brothers, 4,480 feet, Yosemite Valley

The Three Brothers

Description

Watkins presents a view of a set of three peaks known as the “three brothers” within Yosemite Valley. In the foreground is a sparse forest of pine trees on either side of a river which enters from the bottom right corner of the frame and recedes into the middle ground. The mountains jut out from behind the trees; the tallest in the top left is cut off from our view. The “three brothers” occupy the center background of the frame and the tallest, on the left, is just barely contained in the view. The top left corner of the image contains mostly white sky below which another rock face occupies the distant background.
Watkins employs many of the conventions of contemporary landscape painting in his composition: the viewer is given a well-established foreground onto which they might place themselves in contemplation of the view and a tree is used on the right-hand side as a framing device. By allowing the titular peaks to stretch to the very top of the image, Watkins conveys their immensity; the viewer gets the sense of craning their necks to see their summits. Watkins further emphasizes elevation by naming the peaks and their height in the title of his photograph, implicitly reinforcing their worthiness of contemplation. Their anthropomorphic attribution further inspires viewers to prolong their gaze at and hazard interpretation of what is otherwise simply a static image of a rock face.

MetaData

Dublin Core

Title

The Three Brothers, 4,480 feet, Yosemite Valley

Subject

Yosemite, photograph, Civil War

Description

Watkins presents a view of a set of three peaks known as the “three brothers” within Yosemite Valley. In the foreground is a sparse forest of pine trees on either side of a river which enters from the bottom right corner of the frame and recedes into the middle ground. The mountains jut out from behind the trees; the tallest in the top left is cut off from our view. The “three brothers” occupy the center background of the frame and the tallest, on the left, is just barely contained in the view. The top left corner of the image contains mostly white sky below which another rock face occupies the distant background.
Watkins employs many of the conventions of contemporary landscape painting in his composition: the viewer is given a well-established foreground onto which they might place themselves in contemplation of the view and a tree is used on the right-hand side as a framing device. By allowing the titular peaks to stretch to the very top of the image, Watkins conveys their immensity; the viewer gets the sense of craning their necks to see their summits. Watkins further emphasizes elevation by naming the peaks and their height in the title of his photograph, implicitly reinforcing their worthiness of contemplation. Their anthropomorphic attribution further inspires viewers to prolong their gaze at and hazard interpretation of what is otherwise simply a static image of a rock face.

Creator

Carleton E. Watkins, American, 1829–1918

Source

Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG)

Date

ca. 1865-1866

Contributor

Pam Patterson, Seamus Joyce-Johnson

Rights

Public domain

Relation

Photographs

Format

Sheet: 20.4 x 30.6cm (8 1/16 x 12 1/16in.)

Language

En-US

Type

Photograph

Identifier

1975.72.1

Coverage

Alternative Title

The Three Brothers

Date Created

October 24, 2017

Date Modified

March 28, 2018

Access Rights

Public Domain

Medium

Albumen print

Bibliographic Citation

https://artgallery.yale.edu/collections/objects/15927

Spatial Coverage

Yosemite

Temporal Coverage

Civil War, 19th Century

Accrual Method

A. Conger Goodyear, B.A. 1899, Fund

Audience

General audience

Rights Holder

https://artgallery.yale.edu/using-images

Citation

Carleton E. Watkins, American, 1829–1918, “The Three Brothers, 4,480 feet, Yosemite Valley,” Park Culture, accessed March 5, 2021, http://parkculture.org/items/show/69.

Collection

Geolocation