Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, California

Accession Number

Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, California

Ansel Adams

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date
1927, printed 1981

Medium & Support
gelatin silver print on paper

28 in x 22 in (71.12 cm x 55.88 cm);19 1/8 in x 14 3/8 in (48.58 cm x 36.51 cm);32 1/4 in x 26 3/16 in (81.92 cm x 66.52 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Harry H. Lunn, Jr.

Subject matter
This photograph depicts the steep façade of Half Dome, in Yosemite Valley, California, and was created from an angle close to its summit. Looming upwards into a deep black sky, the monolithic cliff face slopes down through the center of the picture, creating a composition divided by a series of bold, diagonal, tonal shapes. The mountain’s monumentality is emphasized by these dramatic angels, and suggests an almost fluid, wave-like swelling in the striated granite. The deep, sonorous blackness of the sky creates a stark contrast between the sunlit granite and brilliant white snow, and lends a brooding majesty to the image. 

Physical Description
Photographed near the summit of a snowy mountian peak, this photograph depicts a steep cliff sloping down through the center of the frame.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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Yosemite Valley
granite (rock)
modern and contemporary art
mountain ranges
national parks
rock (inorganic material)

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& Author Notes

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