Paul Delvaux – Train in Evening, 1957

train-in-evening-1957-jpglarge
Paul Delvaux – Train in Evening 1957

Paul Delvaux was a Belgian Painter known best for his Surrealist work. The painting of his which I have chosen is a cityscape, set in the night and showing a train set a station. It’s painted from an interesting perspective, where Delvaux would have had to have stood in the centre of the train tracks to have achieved this perspective. It leads me to wonder if he painted more from memory or mind than life. During the 1950s Delvaux painted a lot of train scenes, perhaps fuelled by the memory of his first experience and fascination seeing the electric trams in Brussels.
There is a figure of a young girl in the right hand corner of the painting, although she has a mysteriously strong shadow cast from the thin crescent moon, she has almost no three-dimensional shading on her body or clothes. I’ve noticed this to be a feature of his style, his figures lie flat on the canvas and don’t seem to be close to life-like.

There is a strong contrast of colour in his palette for this painting, with the blues of the night sky, white of the buildings in the distance, the red brick work of the station building on the left which can just be made out in the light from the window, and the yellow glowing from the train windows, emphasising the unnatural electrical light.

The painting is divided through his use of life, with my eye being caught and carried up the extending train track, as we assume it heads off into the horizon. It does make me wonder where the train is destined for, especially at that time of night. Not to mention where the parents of the young girl are. As someone who is not a fan of much landscape art, there is something about this painting which really does appeal to me.

More can be found out about Delvaux here.

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