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Gustave Courbet 1: The Desperate Man
Among the immediate precursors to the great art movements of the late nineteenth century, Naturalism and Impressionism, were Eugène Delacroix, Camille Corot, and Gustave Courbet (1819–1877). In a month’s time, we’ll be celebrating the bicentenary of Courbet’s birth, and I hope that you’ll join me in this short series... Read more
Medium Well Done: 5 Watercolour and gouache
Watercolour is the most inappropriately-named of the popular painting media. Oil paint uses drying oils as its binder, egg tempera uses the yolk of eggs, and glue tempera various types of glue. Water is, of course, not the binder in watercolour, but the diluent, used to turn blocks of... Read more
Glaciers: vanishing motifs
If you want to paint a glacier, now may already be too late. Around the world, they’re in retreat, thanks to our changing climate. This article first demonstrates that in paintings and more recent photographs of the Lower Grindelwald Glacier, after which I show some other notable paintings of... Read more
John Ruskin, Godfather to the Pre-Raphaelites, was born 200 years ago today
Two hundred years ago today, the major British art critic and writer John Ruskin was born in London. Although Ruskin appears to have painted only in watercolour, and for his own ends, this article takes a look at some of his paintings and his role as a major influence... Read more
Laura Theresa Alma-Tadema: the woman’s world
Coming from a medical family, it was only appropriate that the three daughters of Dr George Napoleon Epps should have learned to paint – a social skill which would have helped each secure a good marriage. The oldest, Emily (c 1842-1912) was taught by the leading Pre-Raphaelite landscape painter... Read more
Pre-Raphaelite Landscapes 4: John Brett 1
Most artists had abandoned trying to paint Pre-Raphaelite landscapes by about 1862. Perhaps the most persistent painter in Pre-Raphaelite style was John Brett (1831–1902), who by any account continued to produce paintings which conformed to Ruskin’s ideals and had the same ‘look’ until at least 1870. This article and... Read more
Pre-Raphaelite Landscapes 5: John Brett 2
In the last article, I showed some of the long run of Pre-Raphaelite landscapes painted by John Brett (1831–1902) prior to 1870. This article continues by looking at his paintings from 1871 onwards. Now Brett had the first of his yachts, he concentrated on painting the British coastline in... Read more
Pre-Raphaelite Landscapes 6: British landscape painting in the 19th century
Having completed my short survey of Pre-Raphaelite landscape painting, its characteristics, and difficulties, in this article I’d like to try to set it in the context of British landscape painting during the nineteenth century. This necessarily starts with the major works of John Constable. Although he sketched extensively in... Read more
Pre-Raphaelite Landscapes 7: Ruskin’s role
The nineteenth century saw great change in painting, and in the role of art critics. Previously the major external influences over painting were patrons and purchasers, and other painters through their guilds and societies. In the nineteenth century, people who were neither professional artists, nor those funding an artist,... Read more
Into the Light: Helen Allingham’s eternal countryside
Europe and America had some pioneering women artists during the nineteenth century, many of whom I have now covered in this series. One I have not yet mentioned is Helen Allingham (1848-1926), who with her friend Kate Greenaway is often considered (or dismissed, maybe?) as an illustrator rather than... Read more