Colors of the Cosmos: A Closer Look

"Creative art is for all time and is therefore independent of time. It is of all ages, of every land, and if by this we mean the creative spirit in man which produces a picture or a statue is common to the whole civilized world, independent of age, race and nationality; the statement may stand unchallenged."

-Alma Thomas

The Eclipse

Alma Thomas, The Eclipse, 1970, acrylic on canvas, 62 x 49 3⁄4 in. (57.5 x 126.5 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum

Capturing Alma Thomas’s radial designs, “The Eclipse” represents another source of Thomas’s work: space. The advances in technology and the new reality of space travel was a marvel to experience, and many Americans, like Thomas, felt a new sense of possibilities, hope, and excitement. Although there is no documentation from Thomas noting that she saw this, a total eclipse was visible to the United States on March 7, 1970. Her use of bright and warm colors contrasted with the vibrant blues and darker purples, greens, and blues creates dynamic energy paired with the radial shape of the lines, giving it a sense of movement. This also mimics the rays of the sun, creating a sense of brightness to the image.