Point Lobos, Monterey, California Thomas Moran Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Point Lobos, Monterey, California by Thomas Moran is an oil on canvas landscape from 1912 with dimensions of 76.7 × 102.2 cm. The painting is typical of Thomas Moran's craggy landscapes with wild water running through but is set in California as a change from his many Yellowstone and Colorado pictures from earlier times.

The foreground starts with the rocky and wild slopes of a river that is running in from the sea. The slops are bouldered and boulders are mixed with light and dark grass, plants and sandy patches. The bounders slope up on the left to twisted and windblown Cyprus trees. Running up from the foreground to the centre the river is wild and raging, with brown rocks for the water to crash against. The right bank continues low but rocky and a jumbled grass, sand and rocks. A fallen tree is the feature, lying on its side, its foliage still green, indicating recent upheaval. Further still are more trees, and the bank goes out of sight and reappears as a rocky outcrop into the sea.

The left bank becomes a steep sandy cliff, light coloured rock and a feature of some caves in the side of the cliff. The cliff has some trees and foliage on it and on the cliff face, and the bottom is a low slope which could possibly be a beach. The cliff carries on towards the sea, serrated by the force of the water, and ending in a similar rocky outcrop onto the sea as the right bank, and the outcrop on the left may be separated from the land.

The river is wild and forceful, slamming down the gully and out of sight below the outcrop of bank in the foreground, it is blue-green grey like the sea that it comes from, and is full of waves and movement, hitting the banks with sprays of white foam.

In the background the sea is small, not a feature as the river and gully are. The sea is dark and brooding, with a colour approaching a hint of violet, atmospheric with the clouds above shading it. The sea foams as it appraoches the rocks and river and impacts with them. Above is a big sky, mainly covered by grey and white deep cloud, with just a hint of blue to the right. An extremely atmospheric piece with total absence of human presence, just the force of nature.