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The Great Wave 2, Courbet to Gauguin
In the previous of these two articles, I looked at European paintings of near-breaking ‘regular’ or “surfer’s” waves prior to 1850, and the appearance of Katsushika Hokusai’s woodblock print of The Great Wave off Kanagawa, which became so popular in Japan. No one knows when Hokusai’s Great Wave first... Read more
Rolling Thunder: lightning in the landscape
For many people in the past, the most awe-inspiring and impressive events in their lives were thunderstorms. Even today, lightning strikes make hot favourite movies and still images in social media. Although paintings of thunderstorms and lightning strikes may be pale imitations of their vivid and earth-shaking reality, they... Read more
Landscape Visions: 3 Landscapes of awe
One of the most persistent traits in mankind is a curious fascination in, and enjoyment of, the horrifying and scary. When most paintings were religious in theme, these were satisfied perhaps by depictions of the glorious torments endured by saints and martyrs, such as the gory disembowelling of Saint... Read more
Book Review: Picturing the Americas, Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic, Brownlee, Piccoli & Uhlyarik (eds)
“Picturing the Americas, Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic” PJ Brownlee, V Piccoli, G Uhlyarik (editors) Yale UP, August/September 2015 Hardback, 28.7 x 23.7 cm (11.25 x 9.3 in), 280 pp., £45.00/$65.00 ISBN 978 0 300 21150 4 Not available for Kindle or in the iTunes... Read more
Coast: Storms, 2 Bierstadt to Bellows
By the late nineteenth century, coastal views had become part of the repertoire of most landscape painters, but relatively few had tackled the challenge of painting storms at the coast. Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902), Seals on the Rocks, Farallon Islands (c 1872-73), oil on canvas, 66 x 91.4 cm, location... Read more
Coast: Wintering in Capri 1, to 1880
The cradle of plein air painting in oils was the Roman campagna, where during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries budding landscape painters had to go and paint. But other parts of the Mediterranean became popular – among them the beautiful sub-tropical island of Capri. Capri is at... Read more
Coast: The spectacle of Vesuvius, 2
By 1800, paintings and their reproductions showing spectacular eruptions of Mount Vesuvius had become popular, and the Bay of Naples had often attracted artists who were visiting Italy. Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), Vesuvius in Eruption (1817-20), watercolour, 28.6 x 39.7, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT.... Read more