Painting the Lifelines of a City

New York Bridges from Antonio Masi

Watercolor painter Antonio Masi was born in Italy in 1940 and immigrated to America with his family in 1947. He’s spent a lifetime and a career in graphic art advertising in New York City. It would be no overstatement to say that New York has his heart and that the New York bridges are his lifelines.

These bridges are to Masi what Giverny was to Monet. New York’s bridges are as unique and diverse as the people who trod the city’s streets, hence Masi’s masterful and varied presentations of them.

Here’s a lookbook of some of my favorites and you can get New York’s Golden Age of Bridges — a gorgeous coffee table book with Masi’s illustrations presented alongside the stories and urban myths of each bridge and the people who made them — now and see for yourself why this era of architecture and art is truly part of a Golden Age in America.

Courtney 

 

Hiding in Plain Sight

In this watercolor, Masi hides the Manhattan Bridge in plain sight. Not the usual presentation of New York bridges to be sure. But the structure does seem to nestle alongside the buildings nearby. Masi’s color palette furthers that “hidden” element. The searing light and colorful patches along the foreground that carries your eye in offer a visual balance to the heft and visual weight of the bridge.

New York Bridges: "Manhattan Bridge" by Antonio Masi | Bridges in New York City

“Manhattan Bridge” (watercolor, 60×40) by Antonio Masi

Where Am I?

New York Bridges: "View from Below" by Antonio Masi | Bridges of New York City

“View from Below” (watercolor, 60×40) by Antonio Masi

Disorientation is the name of the game with this painting. The perspective is spot on. The bright light of the sky in the two or three places offers an extreme contrast to the awe-inspiring weight of the spans of the bridge.

 

Lovely Industry

How possible is it to find the loveliness and aesthetic appeal in an industrial landscape? Very possible when left to Masi. The colors, stringy application of color, and the composition all make for a view I could look at for hours and hours, days and days.

"Outside Lane" by Antonio Masi | Bridges in New York City

“Outside Lane” (watercolor, 30×40) by Antonio Masi

Halo of Light

"Tracks" by Antonio Masi | Bridges of New York City

“Tracks” (watercolor, 60×40) by Antonio Masi

A halo of light surrounds the bridge in this painting. It ripples out into half-light and moody, blue darkness in the foreground. Your eyes seem to need to adjust to the shadows to make out the tracks referenced in the title. This only underline the skills of an artist who makes you feel like you are really there.

Time Sweeps By

 

"Manhattan View" by Antonio Masi | Bridges of New York City

“Manhattan View” (watercolor, 29×40) by Antonio Masi

Masi captures the passage of time and the effect of light and atmosphere as the moments slip away in this painting. The cool palette and the spare details seem forlorn. Yet the overall feel is one of dignity to this bridge and all the New York bridges that have pretty much seen it all.

 

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