Art Analysis #13: Daybreak by Maxfield ParrishDaybreak, by Maxfield ParrishArt Analysis #13: Daybreak by Maxfield Parrish by ~sequentialscott
This analysis copyright 2009 by Scott M. McDaniel
(Larger version here.)
Daybreak was the 20th century's single most popular print in America. According to Alma Gilbert, the House of Art (which handled the printing) estimated that 1 out of every 4 homes in America had a copy. When I first started reading up on this painting I constantly ran across the term "Dynamic Symmetry." It was the system that Parrish had used to lay out the composition and arrange the elements. When I looked around for a good description of it, I didn't turn up much. However, Jay Hambidge's book on it from 1920 was available through Amazon, so I ordered it. This is, I believe, the same book that Parrish would have read on it.
Since Dynamic Symmetry is so important to the composition, I'm going to focus on