Thirteen

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Market Scene, Northern Town

1939 by L S Lowry
The Lowry Centre

The non-descript title of Lowry’s painting, ‘Market Scene, Northern Town’, is perfect in its simplicity. Part of the point of Lowry’s paintings seem to be their ability to apply to any British town – any scene, anywhere; specific place is not important. Although the painting presents us with a large square factory building, typical red brick walls, greys skies, wrapped up crowds and chimney smoke, the picture is far from depressing. Such a non-identified urban scene is not lamented for its banality but depicted fondly and playfully. Lines are not harsh; people crowd but the crowds are not black, red and blue coats and hats live among the darker – the figures teeming with activity. Grey skies are not oppressive but light; translucent hazes inked in with dusky blues and pinks. The painting has the warmth of a children’s story illustration, which is perhaps why Lowry is so touching, allowing him to portray the normalcy of some ‘Northern Town’ in celebration.

 

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