Research Point: Evolution of Landscape Painting

Research Point: Evolution of Landscape Painting

Do your own research into the evolution of landscape painting from the eighteenth century to the present day… Note particularly some of the ways in which modern and contemporary artists have chosen to interpret this genre. To what extent does contemporary landscape painting reflect environmental concerns, for example?

I have begun to use Pinterest to collate my research as suggested by the OCA.

Board https://www.pinterest.com/ginaemmett/evolution-of-landscape/

18th Century Landscape Painting:

Francis Towne (1739 or 1740 – July 7, 1816) was a British watercolour landscape painter.:

Francis Towne (1739 or 1740 – July 7, 1816) was a British watercolour landscape painter.

This is a charming watercolour landscape and am probably getting ahead of myself, but is a great example of aerial perspective.

Haytley, Edward. “The Montagu Family at Sandleford Priory.” 1744.:

Edward Haytley. “The Montagu Family at Sandleford Priory.” 1744

What I would call a  traditional landscape by a painter I am not familiar with. Personally, it leaves me a little cold as a picture, however, I see skill and aerial perspective and elements of the use of the rule of thirds or golden ration. It is also a falsely romanticised rendition of 18th century rural life.

Thomas Gainsborough, Wooded Landscape with Shepherd Resting in a Sunny Path and Sheep, c.1746, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Netherlands:

Thomas Gainsborough, Wooded Landscape with Shepherd Resting in a Sunny Path and Sheep, c.1746, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Netherlands

This has much more life and movement than the previous example. It has a softness of colour and brush strokes that evoke a quiet moment on a sunny day. The play of light seems to be the focus and although, it is again a romanticised image, it has more reality as just a moment in time.

19th Century Landscape Painting:

‘Märkisch Lake in the Evening, 1890s - Lesser Ury (1861–1931):

Märkisch Lake in the Evening, 1890s – Lesser Ury (1861–1931)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beautiful, atmospheric painting showing a gentle evening light. Not overworked, just lovely.

John Constable, Weymouth Bay from the Downs above Osmington Mills, about 1816, 22 x 30 3/8 in.:

John Constable, Weymouth Bay from the Downs above Osmington Mills, about 1816, 22 x 30 3/8 in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A small oil sketch of Weymouth, which appears to have been painted in situ, I like this because, there are still stretches of this coastline that still has this desolate feeling. I think it’s almost a shame that Constable has added the figures into the picture, although it does give a sense of scale.

20th Century Landscape Painting:

This is going to be difficult to choose from this century, two world wars, women coming into their own, industrialisation, intensive farming, urban planning – the landscape itself changed so much in this century not to mention the variety of painting genres!

'Monte Oliveto' (1912) by English painter & interior designer Vanessa Bell (1879-1961). via Miss folly:

‘Monte Oliveto’ (1912) by English painter & interior designer Vanessa Bell (1879-1961).

An artist that my tutor has told me to look out for (along with Duncan Grant) and after scouring the BBC Your Paintings website I totally understand why. Both are very emotive painters and this landscape is warm and welcoming as I’m sure this place was. It’s a happy place with good memories for the artist, I’m sure. However, I can also see that it could be painted very differently with cooler colours and evoke a menacing, almost claustrophobic mood with those imposing trees.

The Village, 1918. Jean Dominique Antony Metzinger was a major 20th-century French painter, theorist, writer, critic and poet, born in Nantes, France, who, along with Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Albert Gleizes, developed the art style known as Cubism.:

The Village, 1918. Jean Dominique Antony Metzinger was a major 20th-century French painter, theorist, writer, critic and poet, born in Nantes, France, who, along with Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Albert Gleizes, developed the art style known as Cubism.

I decided on this example as many others I had “pinned” will crop up later. I really like the sense of pattern in this painting, yet it is still clearly a landscape with both natural and urban elements.

Richard Diebenkorn:

Richard Diebenkorn

I am unsure of the title of this Diebenkorn painting but I like everything about it. It’s abstract, yet to me, I see the ground laid out beneath me as if in a plane with the clouds parting to reveal my destination. Clearly a landscape and I see the warmth of the sun casting its colours on the hills.

21st Century Landscape Painting:

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Volcanic painting by Diane Burko

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Tracking the melting ice caps – Diane Burko

Diane Burko is an American artist and photographer renowned for her natural landscape work.  She is committed to raising awareness of the impact of climate change on the planet and has been working on a major project regarding the melting of the polar ice caps.

Alexis Rockman at Sperone Westwater | New York Art Tours:

Alexis Rockman at Sperone Westwater | New York Art Tours

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Alexis Rockman

Alexis Rockman another American artist who has used his art to inform and educate on environmental issues such as climate change, pollution of rivers and the suggested dangers of genetically modified food.

 

Richard Diebenkorn – Royal Academy of Arts

05/06/15

Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993)

I just caught this exhibition before it was due to close on the following Sunday – I had wanted to attend the OCA study visit but was away at the time. I am so glad I made the effort to visit under my own steam as this is, probably, an unlikely to be repeated opportunity.

I have to confess that I had not been aware of this artist until his exhibition was publicised through the OCA and on Facebook groups to which I belong. I also admit that I know little or virtually nothing about abstract art other than I like a piece of work or I don’t, it speaks to me or it doesn’t and if it does, it usually has the colour red in it. There, a total philistine! I remember many an occasion at the tea-table (we had tea in those days, not dinner!), with my mum and dad watching the news when some art work was causing a storm at the Tate Modern – prime example was the “pile of bricks”, or even a Picasso or two. Its fascinating what you absorb when you’re young from those around you. My mum was as proud as anything with my school art works, I remember catching her trotting round to my neighbour’s one afternoon after school, with a painting I’d done for my O Level course work to show it off to her. Both parents were very supportive of my endeavours, with dad taking me off to town and buying me all the materials I would need for my art lessons – a small fortune in those days. However, back to the tea-table where everyone said “Look at that! A five year old could do that!” – including me! So, there I was in front of quite a lot of abstract work at this exhibition and all these memories came tumbling over me – quite emotional! Is that what abstract art is about – making you feel not just see, or is that all art???

Anyway, my first thought was, I thought that there would be more – I had decided to go round quickly first and then go back to those works I particularly liked.  However, after discovering it was only three rooms, I went round again slowly looking at everything carefully, and then again. My second main thought? I wish there was more!

Richard Diebenkorn at the Royal Academy

Richard Diebenkorn at the Royal Academy

I have to admit, I am true to my roots, in that I particularly loved the representative work, the life drawings, the figures, they all had so much energy, I enjoyed the workings over and over. I thought the still life in interiors were great (maybe because that is where I’m up to in my course – the negative shapes that built the structure and the patterns that weren’t ignored but celebrated as an excuse for more colour).  I was drawn to the “Ashtray and Doors” 1962, such a simple, almost throw away subject but it was beautiful and had narrative (no smoking ban in those days!).

In my humble opinion, I came away thinking that Richard Diebenkorn was a master in composition and colour, my example would be “Cityscape #1” 1963.  It has pattern, light and shapes that are recognisable yet don’t have to be – it makes sense to me, the flattened perspective works and still somehow manages to represent distance.  The seemingly cross over work, abstract-representative-abstract, is accepted by my brain, I’m getting a few steps closer! Looking at those of the Ocean Park series that were displayed, I did struggle, I warm to curves rather than angles and straight lines. However, I was drawn to the Ocean Park #27 painting for some time – there was more to it than geometric shapes, I liked the under painting and reworked lines and shapes – I felt absorbed but am not sure why.

Works I returned to for second or third viewings:

  • All the monochromatic life and figure drawings, I could see the struggle and observation in every mark.
  • Cityscape #1
  • Ashtray and Doors
  • Interior with View of Buildings – a large work that took a little “looking at”, so I did, for what felt like at least 10 minutes!
  • Girl on a Terrace – mesmerising and a little uncomfortable in composition (not as in disturbing but as in making you work to see it).
  • I even went back to the Disintegrating Pig!!