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Medium Well Done: 13 Paper and cardboard
The first paper-like sheets were made by the ancient Egyptians from papyrus, but it was the Chinese who discovered how to break plant fibres down to form sheets of what is recognisably paper. This knowledge came to Europe in the Middle Ages, by the eleventh century, and by the... Read more
Glaciers and Views of Awe by Caspar Wolf
Well before the famous landscape paintings of Switzerland by Alexandre Calame (1810–1864), one of the pioneers of Alpine views was Caspar Wolf (1735–1783). Wolf was born in the town of Muri in central northern Switzerland. He trained in Konstanz, and during the 1750s worked as a decorative painter in... Read more
Ferdinand Hodler, Early Realism, to 1885
Next month, I will be commemorating here the centenary of the death of the great Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler (1853–1918). He is not a painter that I have known well, and I can’t recall seeing any of his paintings in the flesh. Researching his life and work has been... Read more
The Awe of the Alps: Alexandre Calame 1
By the nineteenth century, ‘genteel’ people (such as patrons of the arts) were starting to discover the challenges and rewards of Europe’s mountainous and wild regions, including the Alps and Switzerland. Just as artists like JMW Turner sold paintings in their home markets showing the savage beauty of the... Read more
The Awe of the Alps: Alexandre Calame 2
By the end of the 1840s, Alexandre Calame (1810–1864) had established himself as a major painter of dramatic, sometimes even melodramatic, views of the Swiss landscape, and had a steady stream of commissions to keep him busy, and comfortably off. He then focussed more closely on views of Lake... Read more
Landscapes of Martín Rico: 1 1852-1872
My recent long weekend looking at paintings of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, reminded me of how few Spanish landscape painters are now known outside the country of their birth. The work of Martín Rico y Ortega (1833–1908) was widely recognised in the late nineteenth century, and can be... Read more