The Entrance to a Wood

Robert Walter Weir American

Not on view

This drawing was commissioned by the distinguished American poet William Cullen Bryant as an illustration for his “Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood.” The poet advised the artist as follows: “I have thought that an opening into a thick wood, with a human figure retiring up the avenue, and an old tree or two uprooted, with some other accessories suggested by the poem, would do; but I wish to leave it all to you, who understand this matter so much better than I do.” Weir's drawing precisely matches Bryant’s description. He employed a variety of techniques in watercolor and graphite to capture the individuality of Bryant’s expression, successfully evoking a sense of “kindred calm,” and of escape from the world’s “sorrows, crimes, and cares.” As for the “accessories” that Bryant mentioned in his letter, Weir included “the squirrel, with raised paws and form erect” and “the old and ponderous trunks of prostrate trees / That lead from knoll to knoll a causey rude / Or bridge the sunken brook.”

The Entrance to a Wood, Robert Walter Weir (American, New Rochelle, New York 1803–1889 New York), Watercolor and graphite on buff wove paper, American

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