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Pushing it back: depth and repoussoir 2
In the first article of this pair yesterday, I explained and showed how trees to one side of the foreground of a painting strengthen the cues for depth, a compositional technique known as repoussoir, pushing back. This had become quite widely used by the end of the eighteenth century,... Read more
Medium Well Done: 9 Ink and casein
Since ancient times, writing, drawing and paintings have been made using pigments and/or dyes in water, often without any binder as such. These are generically inks, which don’t conform to other media such as watercolours or the temperas. The most common among them is India ink, whose essential ingredients... Read more
Book Review: Samuel Palmer, William Vaughan
“Samuel Palmer. Shadows on the Wall” William Vaughan Yale UP, 5 June 2015 (US: 4 Aug 2015) Hardback, 26 x 29.7 cm (10.2 x 11.7 in), 12+412 pp., £50.00/$85.00 ISBN 978 0 300 20985 3 Not available for Kindle nor in the iTunes Store. Samuel Palmer (1805-81) was one... Read more
Landscape Visions: 1 What’s in your landscape?
Although not one of the more valued genres, landscape painting became enormously popular in the nineteenth century, both among artists and their public. The Impressionists were, first and foremost, landscape painters; even Renoir, purveyor of protruberant nudes to the trendier gentry, felt it necessary to paint dozens of canvases... Read more
Landscape Visions: 5 Vision beyond
The final type of landscape painting which is often lumped with the Burkean sublime is that in which the artist’s internal (or ‘higher’) vision starts to become dominant: most obviously in the ‘Romantic’. These Romantic visions might include the truly Burkean sublime, as they did for John Martin and... Read more
Landscape Visions: 6 figures, staffage, and Advent Calendars
With their Renaissance roots as cameos or backgrounds to figurative paintings, landscapes slowly evolved to be ‘pure’ and unpopulated. What started as figures (+ miniature landscape) became figures in a landscape, then a landscape with figures, and finally just a landscape. From the left: Rogier van der Weyden (1450);... Read more
Trees in the landscape: 1. Introduction to the new series
Many of the finest landscape paintings consist of just three major elements: the sky, terrain, and trees. Some are little more than portraits of trees. In this new series of articles, I am going to concentrate on the depiction of trees by individual Western painters, where those trees form... Read more
The Story in Paintings: Moving panoramas for the masses
During the 1800s, most western cities increased greatly in size, and the scope for exploiting paintings for commercial gain increased concomitantly. The population of Paris grew from just over half a million in 1801 to nearer three million by 1901, and London grew from one million to nearly seven... 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
Tyger’s eye: the paintings of William Blake, 16 – A miscellany
This article considers some of Blake’s watercolours which I find particularly appealing or interesting, but which have so far not been covered properly in previous articles. I consider them in chronological order. William Blake (1757–1827), An Allegory of the Bible (c 1780–5), graphite, ink and watercolour on paper, 61.5... Read more