About the Image
Walking down Mosely Street in Manchester, the Portico Library is this gem of a building in a Neoclassical style. The Portico Library dominates this painting, its brilliant pinks and yellows contrast with dark browns, almost turning black in the central areas. This gloom leads into the library itself, defining Roman style columns in the process.
Colour is what you notice first, then you begin to appreciate the vastness of the building. In Mosley street, people march past purposefully. Above their heads, the power lines for the trams are suspended. Blown ink tendrils, exploding like sparks, bring life to the static cables.
In the road, a lady wearing a pink coat walks along the tram lines. She’s oblivious to any potential danger. Maybe you look around fearfully, but she’s safe, for now. There’s no sign of a tram!
On our right, there’s a strip of painting, drained of colour, it’s virtually monochromatic. You may notice it an stare a while, but your eyes are soon drawn back to the library, and its brilliant colour impacts you once again.
Random colours blend as green, ochres, and browns merge to the right, while pinks and yellows find other places.
That dark recess behind the columns reveals tentative details of fine windows and doorways. The hint of a light but no clues to what’s inside the building. Enticing though those doors may be, we will never walk through them and learn what’s inside.
But we’re always free to look at the painting and speculate.
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