With the recent end of Daylight Saving Time, sunsets have become a highlight of my evening commute home from work. They are a lovely tradeoff for the loss of some daylight as we move ever closer to winter. As often happens, when I see something visually interesting or beautiful, I get curious and search in our collections to see what we have on the subject. And I was rewarded with some truly spectacular sights when I searched for sunsets. So, join me in a tour through sunsets in different time periods and countries that are expressed using different media such as photography and painting.
Our collection of works by American artist Joseph Pennell includes hundreds of sunset views, including these two drawings of Venice, Italy and of New York City.
Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii created his negatives by using a camera that exposed one oblong glass plate three times in rapid succession through three different color filters: blue, green, and red. For formal presentations, he printed positive glass slides of these negatives and projected them through a triple lens magic lantern, and, with the use of color filters, superimposed the three exposures to form a full color image on a screen. Here, the full color image is a digital rendering mimicking the effect created by the magic lantern and color filters.
Artist Elizabeth Shippen Green created this painting to illustrate a story in Harper’s Magazine in May 1911, with vivid sunset colors surrounding the horseback figures in the foreground.
This 1901 photochrom is a photomechanical print that combines photography and lithography in one image, giving color to this sunset over the New York harbor.
Photographer Toni Frissell used the sunset as a contrasting backdrop to a fashion shoot in this 1946 photo.
Contemporary photographer Carol M. Highsmith captured these two stunning sunsets. A massive saguaro cactus is silhouetted in the Arizona desert during a vibrant sunset. Below that, a gentle sunset is reflected in the surface of a serene New Hampshire lake.
- Bask in more vivid sunsets from the camera of contemporary photographer Carol M. Highsmith.
- Read more about Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii’s color photography method while documenting the Russan Empire between 1905 and 1915, as well as a Picture This interview with Walt Frankhauser about his modern digital renderings.
- The sun also rises! Enjoy depictions of sunrises from throughout the collections of the Prints & Photographs Division.