Artist: Joseph Stella (American, born Italy, 1877–1946)
Brooklyn Bridge is Joseph Stella's best-known and most moving testimonial to the power and majesty of America's modern industrial landscape. His fascination with the bridge began with his first sight of it shortly after his arrival in America in 1896 from his native Italy. He described it as the shrine containing all the efforts of the new civilization of America. It was not until moving to Brooklyn and actually living in the bridge's shadow that he committed his feelings to canvas: "Many nights I stood on the bridge—and in the middle alone— lost—a defenseless prey to the surrounding swarming darkness—crushed by the mountainous black impenetrability of the skyscrapers—here and there lights resembling suspended falls of astral bodies or fantastic splendors of remote rites—shaken by the underground tumult of the trains in perpetual motion, like blood in the arteries—at times, ringing as alarm in a tempest, the shrill sulphurous voice of the trolley wires—now and then strange moanings of appeal from tugboats, guessed more than seen, through the infernal recesses below—I felt deeply moved, as if on the threshold of a new religion or in the presence of a new DIVINITY." Stella returned to the subject of the bridge many times throughout his career.
Oil on canvas
84 3/4 × 76 5/8 in. (215.3 × 194.6 cm)
- Credit Line
Gift of Collection Société Anonyme
- Accession Number
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