Kakabeka Falls, Kamanistiquia River (Cataratas de Kakabeka, río Kamanistiquia)

Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Oil on canvas
National Gallery of Canada, purchased 1935
Locate on map View in timeline About the artist

An artist known for his commercially successful Canadian landscapes, Lucius O’Brien visited Kakabeka Falls in 1881. Though he traveled to the Falls by train and regularly traveled across the Great Lakes by steam ship, O’Brien’s vision of Kakabeka Falls is of an isolated natural wonder untouched by human influence or industrial technology. This sense of the sublime found in the wilderness is emphasized by the inclusion of two miniscule figures on a shoal, dwarfed by the landscape before them.  A subject of spiritual interest, O’Brien aestheticized the landscape in Kakabeka Falls to stir the spirits of his fellow Canadians in the late nineteenth century.