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The Balcony: Outside In
Balconies have been a valuable device in painting, and this weekend I’m going to look at two groups of views which use them with effect. This article looks from outside the balcony towards it, and the interior behind; tomorrow I’ll reverse that and look at views from a balcony,... Read more
The Story in Paintings: So what is a narrative painting?
Sometimes you use a term over which you think there is longstanding general agreement, only to discover that others have used it with very different meaning. This is a particular danger in fields in which the literature is very weak, as it is in narrative painting. This article re-examines... Read more
The Forgotten Pre-Raphaelite: Marie Spartali Stillman, 1 – to 1883
Now unfortunately overshadowed by Impressionism, the Pre-Raphaelite movement was a major influence in European painting in the middle and later years of the 1800s. The core of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was small and transient, but the movement and its periphery spread further, and lasted until the early twentieth century.... Read more
Lawrence Alma-Tadema: classics go Aesthetic, 1
The four artists whose reputations bore the brunt of the early twentieth-century rush through Post-Impressionism to Modernism were John Singer Sargent, Frederick, Lord Leighton, Sir Edward Poynter, and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. The high priest of that modernisation, Roger Fry, reserved his most damning and personal attacks for Sir Lawrence... 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 1: emergence
In 1843, the following advice was published, anonymously, to aspiring painters: should go to Nature in all singleness of heart, and walk with her laboriously and trustingly, having no other thoughts but how best to penetrate her meaning, and remember her instruction; rejecting nothing, selecting nothing, and scorning... Read more
Pre-Raphaelite Landscapes 2: truth
The first article looked at the emergence of the earliest pure landscape paintings among the Pre-Raphaelites, what their characteristics are, and how those arose. Central to the Pre-Raphaelite movement was the quest for ‘truth’, an issue which the critic John Ruskin considered in exhaustive detail in his first volume... Read more
Pre-Raphaelite Landscapes 3: development
In the last article, I considered how early Pre-Raphaelite landscape paintings addressed the need to be true to nature, and its consequences. Although the PRB itself was short-lived, its style caught on and spread far beyond those original members. This article looks at those landscapes during the late 1850s.... Read more
Paintings of Autumn 1: 1573-1895
For those of us who live beyond the Tropics, I look on autumn/fall as being compensation in advance for what we’re about to suffer in the winter, and Spring as our reward for getting through. In this and the next article, I’d like to celebrate over three centuries of... Read more