by JEH MacDonald
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ART OF THE LOBBY
COLORADO POSTERS ⎔ GERMAN POLITICAL CARTOONS ⎔ LOG HUT ON THE ST. MAURICE ⎔ MT. HOOD POSTCARDS ⎔ MYSTERIES ⎔ NORTHERN RIVER ⎔ PAYSAGE D’HIVER ⎔ SOLEMN LAND ⎔ STORMY WEATHER ⎔ TOWER OF BABEL
Left of the main entrance. The first painting seen in the film (at 3:03), and seen numerous times throughout, as characters pass this location. In fact, it’s one of only two paintings (the other being Paysage d’hiver) to appear on screen alongside all four major characters (the Torrances and Hallorann). Ullman and Watson are also seen beside it.
Depicts the Montreal River, near Algoma, Canada, which features many tributaries, several of which speak to themes of the film. I can’t pin down where this painting was painted exactly, but it could include Tempest Creek, which would be a good way to suggest that the novel’s true origin wasn’t The Masque of the Red Death, but Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which inspired Poe’s short story.
IDENTITY – THE GROUP OF SEVEN
MacDonald is the first artist whose work is seen clearly in the film. He founded the Group of Seven. He encouraged fellow commercial artist Tom Thomson (whose Northern River (another river painting) is right across the room in a second) to develop his artistic side. The advent of the Group of Seven is sometimes attributed to Thomson’s mastery of landscapes. So there’s a chicken-and-the-egg thing between these two artists and the group they’re best known for inspiring, and that’s a frequent theme in the film. Did the hotel make Jack evil, or was he always so? Did Danny kill Hallorann by inviting him to the hotel, or did Hallorann get himself killed by not warning the Torrances better? Stuff like that.
MacDonald became increasingly drawn to the Rockies, and so was alienated from the group he had founded (for reasons spatial and stylistic). Jack moves from Vermont to Boulder, Colorado to become similarly enchanted.
In the second shot of the film (the first of Jack driving), Jack drives past Lake McDonald.
Cornelius Krieghoff, the artist behind the next piece (obscured by the bus schedule billboard in the first shot), lived in the city of Montréal, and belonged to the Salon de la Société des Artistes de Montréal. So both first paintings involve a connection to a place named Montréal, and both artists were part of artist collectives.
First exhibited in 1921, same year as photo Jack is stuck in at the end (and you know what 21+21 equals…). Actually, this painting will get one of the longest appearances on screen of any artwork, to the right of Summer of ’42 (from 51:37-52:42).
THE 237 CONNECTION
It’s also worth pointing out, I think, that this is the painting behind Jack’s head in what I call his “last sane moment” in the film. In my analysis of the lengths of the various shots in the film, I noticed that the film can be broken down into six massive chunks of time, with amounts of seconds that speak to whatever is happening in that section. So, the first chunk is 2370 seconds (00:14-39:44), the last moment of which is the last second of the last shot of Jack studying the model labyrinth, before the shot cuts to the aerial view of the real labyrinth, with its vastly different design.
In the next Jack sequence, he’s barking at Wendy about being left alone to do his “work”. Until this moment, he’s been relatively sane. The next time Jack will be on screen with The Solemn Land is when he’s overlooking the lobby for how he’ll hide to kill Hallorann at 2:07:32, and then, right after he’s killed Dick, curving past it from 2:09:03-2:09:07. The time codes for the first pass are 3:04-3:06 (3 seconds) and 3:22-3:23 (2 seconds) as he approaches for the interview. Then, 11:02-11:11 and 11:14-11:19 as he calls Wendy about the job. Finally, it appears from 19:54-20:31 (37 seconds) as Ullman and Watson approach for the tour. At 19:55, a second painting by JEH MacDonald appears way in the distance, behind Ullman (Mist Fantasy, Sand River), before being eclipsed by the manager’s torso at 20:07. Jack begins to eclipse The Solemn Land at 20:07, before moving off of it at 20:27. So there’s a lot of 2s, 3s and 7s in these time codes. But when I talk about the number of pure seconds into the film something happens, I’m taking out the 14-second Warner Bros. logo, and by doing so, this means the last second of it fading at the start of the tour (20:31) is 1217 seconds into the film. The second of Jack first passing it (3:06) is 172. And room 217 is King’s evilest room. The second of him leaving it for good (2:09:07) is 7733.
SPECIAL: WHAT’S IN AN INN?
I recently learned that the word “inn” comes from a river in Austria, and that the word etymologically ties back to the Celtic/Romansh word “en” which meant “water”. If Kubrick understood this, this could explain the plethora of river and lake paintings throughout (but especially in the lobby). Perhaps this even operates as a metaphor for this labyrinth of related artworks.
Next art reference: Log Hut on the St. Maurice
MAIN PAGE ⎔ SECTION PAGE ⎔ SITE MAP ⎔ GLOSSARY
OTHER MAIN PAGES FOR SHINING ANALYSIS
THE MIRRORFORM ⎔ THE BEATLES ⎔ THE RUM AND THE RED
BACKGROUND ART ⎔ OVERLOOK PHOTOGRAPHS ⎔ GOLDEN SPIRALS
PHI GRIDS ⎔ PATTERNS ⎔ VIOLENCE AND INDIGENA ⎔ ABSURDITIES
THE STORY ROOM ⎔ ANIMAL SYMBOLS ⎔ THE ANNOTATED SHINING