THROUGH the ample open door of the peaceful country barn,
A sun-lit pasture field, with cattle and horses feeding;
And haze, and vista, and the far horizon, fading away
Benfey says that Whitman 'loved art galleries and one can imagine him trying, in such poems, to capture some of the effects of the painters of his time, such as the "haze and vista" of the landscape paintings of Martin Johnson Heade...' Heade, one of those American artists subsequently described as luminists for their interest in light effects, began painting landscapes in the early 1860s and became best known for his salt marsh paintings. He is also one of the four cultural figures examined in Christopher Benfey's recent book A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe & Martin Johnson Heade.
Martin Johnson Heade, Newburyport Meadows, c1872-8