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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
Next Year in Paintings: da Vinci, Courbet, Renoir, and more
There are some major anniversaries of artists this year, most notably the five hundredth since the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the bicentenary of the birth of Gustave Courbet, and centenary of the death of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Here’s how the year is looking. 9 January: 200th anniversary of the... Read more
Beyond the French Impressionists: 18 USA, Whistler
Of all the painters covered in this series so far, Whistler is probably the best known today, although I must admit that he is not a particular favourite of mine. Unfortunately he often painted using ‘special’ home-made media which appear to have made some of his paintings look very... Read more
Between Turner and the 20th century: Alfred William Hunt
Following the death of JMW Turner in 1851, there did not appear to be any successor in British art. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood had been formed, but was working in quite a different direction, and the focus of development in landscape painting had moved to Paris, and the Impressionists. In... 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
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 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