Related: UK - art
Theorists: Sir Christopher Frayling - John Berger
Garden in Shoreham (1820s or early 1830s) - Samuel Palmer
Samuel Palmer (born Newington, London, January 27, 1805 - died Redhill, Surrey, May 24, 1881) was an English landscape painter, etcher and printmaker. He was also a prolific writer. Palmer was a key figure in English Romanticism and produced visionary pastoral paintings. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Palmer [Aug 2006]
Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway painted (1844) - William Turner
DescriptionBritish Art is the art of the island of Britain. The term normally includes British artists as well as expatriates settled in Britain. Art of the United Kingdom is relatively detailed, as most styles, tones, and subject matters have been used by British artists. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_art [Mar 2006]
Sensation was a controversial exhibition of Young British Artists which took place in 1997 (September 18–December 28) at the Royal Academy of Art in London and later toured to Berlin and New York, but was rejected by Australia. It consisted of work from the collection of Charles Saatchi and one of the criticisms was the boost to the value of the work through being shown in public museums. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensation_exhibition [Aug 2006]
Joseph Mallord William Turner (born in Covent Garden, London on April 23, 1775 (exact date disputed), died December 19, 1851) was an English Romantic landscape artist, whose style can be said to lay the foundations for Impressionism.
Turner, along with John Constable, was at the forefront of English painting by his later years, and both were popular in France as well. Impressionists carefully studied his techniques, although they sought to diminish the power of his paintings. In the modern art era, advocates of abstract art were also influenced by Turner. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._M._W._Turner [Mar 2006]
See also: landscape - Impressionism (influence on) - Romanticism - painting - train - speed - 1840s
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB)
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (also known as the Pre-Raphaelites) was a group of English painters, poets and critics, founded in 1848 by John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt.
The group's intention was to reform art by rejecting what they considered to be the mechanistic approach adopted by the Mannerist artists who followed Raphael and Michelangelo. They believed that the Classical poses and elegant compositions of Raphael in particular had been a corrupting influence on academic teaching of art. Hence the name "Pre-Raphaelite". In particular they objected to the influence of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the founder of the English Royal Academy of Arts. They called him 'Sir Sloshua', believing that his broad technique was a sloppy and formulaic form of academic Mannerism. In contrast they wanted to return to the abundant detail, intense colours, and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian and Flemish art.
The Pre-Raphaelites have been considered the first avant-garde movement in art, though they have also been denied that status, because they continued to accept both the concepts of history painting and of 'mimesis', or imitation of nature, as central to the purpose of art. However, the Pre-Raphaelites undoubtedly defined themselves as a reform movement, created a distinct name for their form of art, and published a periodical, The Germ, to promote their ideas. Their debates were recorded in the "Pre-Raphaelite Journal". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Raphaelite [Jul 2006]
Paul McCarthy (1945 - )Paul McCarthy (born 1945) is widely considered to be one of the most influential and groundbreaking artists of today. Using the language and imagery of the all-pervasive American consumer culture he grew up with, his work distorts and mutates the familiar into the disturbing and carnivalesque. McCarthy first became known in the 1970s for his visceral performances and film works but during the 1990s extended his practice into stand alone sculptural figures, installations and most recently a series of large inflatable sculptures. --http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/paulmccarthy/ [Feb 2005]
Neptune's Horses (1892) - Walter Crane
Neptune's Horses (1892) - Walter Crane
See also: 1892 - fantastic art - UK
Self-Portrait (1936) - Leonora Carrington
Self-Portrait (1936) - Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington (April 6, 1917 in Clayton Green, Lancashire - ) was a British-born Mexican novelist and surrealist painter. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonora Carrington [Dec 2005]
She was romantically involved with Max Ernst.
See also: UK - art - Surrealism
Style, genius and taste (1770) - Sir Joshua Reynolds
Cupid Unfastening the Belt of Venus () - Sir Joshua Reynolds
Image sourced here.
Sir Joshua Reynolds (July 16, 1723–February 23, 1792) was the most important and influential of eighteenth-century English painters, specialising in portraits and promoting the "Grand Style" in painting which depended on idealization of the imperfect. He was one of the founders and first President of the Royal Academy. George III appreciated his merits and knighted him in 1769. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Reynolds [Oct 2005]
From a discourse to his students by Joshua Reynolds:The principle now laid down, that the perfection of this art does not consist in mere imitation, is far from being new or singular. It is, indeed, supported by the general opinion of the enlightened part of mankind. The poets, orators, and rhetoricians of antiquity, are continually enforcing this position, that all the arts receive their perfection from an ideal beauty, superior to what is to be found in individual nature. They are ever referring to the practice of the painters and sculptors of their times, particularly Phidias (the favourite artist of antiquity), to illustrate their assertions. As if they could not sufficiently express their admiration of his genius by what they knew, they have recourse to poetical enthusiasm. They call it inspiration; a gift from heaven. The artist is supposed to have ascended the celestial regions, to furnish his mind with this perfect idea of beauty. "He,” says Proclus, “who takes for his model such forms as nature produces, and confines himself to an exact imitation of them, will never attain to what is perfectly beautiful. For the works of nature are full of disproportion, and fall very short of the true standard of beauty. So that Phidias, when he formed his Jupiter, did not copy any object ever presents to his sight; but contemplated only that image which he had conceived in his mind from Homer’s description.” And thus Cicero, speaking of the same Phidias: “Neither did this artist,” says he, “when he carved the image of Jupiter or Minerva, set before him any one human figure as a pattern, which he was to copy; but having a more perfect idea of beauty fixed in his mind, this he steadily contemplated, and to the imitation of this all his skill and labour were directed.
The moderns are not less convinced than the ancients of this superior power existing in the art; nor less conscious of its effects. Every language has adopted terms expressive of this excellence. The Gusto grande of the Italians; the Beau ideal of the French and the GREAT STYLE, GENIUS, and TASTE among the English, are but different appellations of the same thing. It is this intellectual dignity, they say, that ennobles the painter’s art; that lays the line between him and the mere mechanic; and produces those great effects in an instant, which eloquence and poetry, by slow and repeated efforts, are scarcely able to attain. Such is the warmth with which both the ancients and moderns speak of this divine principle of the art; but, as I have formerly observed, enthusiastic admiration seldom promotes knowledge. Though a student by such praise may have his attention roused, and a desire excited, of running in this great career, yet it is possible that what has been said to excite, may only serve to deter him. He examines his own mind, and perceives there nothing of that divine inspiration with which he is told so many others have been favoured. He never travelled to heaven to gather new ideas; and he finds himself possessed of no other qualifications than what mere common observation and a plain understanding can confer. Thus he becomes gloomy amidst the splendour of figurative declamation, and thinks it hopeless to pursue an object which he supposes out of the reach of human industry.
But on this, as upon many other occasions, we ought to distinguish how much is to be given to enthusiasm, and how much to reason. We ought to allow for, and we ought to commend, that strength of vivid expression which is necessary to convey, in its full force, the highest sense of the most complete effect of art; taking care at the same time not to lose in terms of vague admiration that solidity and truth of principle upon which alone we can reason, and may be enabled to practise.
It is not easy to define in what this great style consists; nor to describe, by words, the proper means of acquiring it, if the mind of the student should be at all capable of such an acquisition. Could we teach taste or genius by rules, they would be no longer taste and genius. But though there neither are, nor can be, any precise invariable rules for the exercise or the acquisition of those great qualities, yet we may as truly say that they always operate in proportion to our attention in observing the works of nature, to our skill in selecting, and to our care in digesting, methodising, and comparing our observations. There are many beauties in our art, that seem, at first, to lie without the reach of precept, and yet may easily be reduced to practical principles. Experience is all in all; but it is not every one who profits by experience; and most people err, not so much from want of capacity to find their object, as from not knowing what object to pursue. This great ideal perfection and beauty are not to be sought in the heavens, but upon the earth. They are about us, and upon every side of us. But the power of discovering what is deformed in nature, or in other words, what is particular and uncommon, can be acquired only by experience; and the whole beauty and grandeur of the art consists, in my opinion, in being able to get above all singular forms, local customs, particularities, and details of every kind.
All the objects which are exhibited to our view by nature, upon close examination will be found to have their blemishes and defects. The most beautiful forms have something about them like weakness, minuteness, or imperfection. But it is not every eye that perceives these blemishes. It must be an eye long used to the contemplation and comparison of these forms; and which, by a long habit of observing what any set of objects of the same kind have in common, that alone can acquire the power of discerning what each wants in particular. This long laborious comparison should be the first study of the painter who aims at the greatest style. By this means, he acquires a just idea of beautiful forms; he corrects nature by herself, her imperfect state by her more perfect. His eye being enabled to distinguish the accidental deficiencies, excrescences, and deformities of things from their general figures, he makes out an abstract idea of their forms more perfect than any one original; and what may seem a paradox, he learns to design naturally by drawing his figures unlike to any one object. This idea of the perfect state of nature, which the artist calls the ideal beauty, is the great leading principle by which works of genius are conducted. By this Phidias acquired his fame. He wrought upon a sober principle what has so much excited the enthusiasm of the world; and by this method you, who have courage to tread the same path, may acquire equal reputation.
This is the idea which has acquired, and which seems to have a right to the epithet of Divine; as it may be said to preside, like a supreme judge, over all the productions of nature; appearing to be possessed of the will and intention of the Creator, as far as they regard the external form of living beings.
When a man once possesses this idea in its perfection, there is no danger but that he will he sufficiently warmed by it himself, and be able to warm and ravish every one else.
Thus it is from a reiterated experience, and a close comparison of the objects in nature, that an artist becomes possessed of the idea of that central form, if I may so express it, from which every deviation is deformity. But the investigation of this form I grant is painful, and I know but of one method of shortening the road; this is, by a careful study of the works of the ancient sculptors; who, being indefatigable in the school of nature, have left models of that perfect form behind them, which an artist would prefer as supremely beautiful, who had spent his whole life in that single contemplation. But if industry carried them thus far, may not you also hope for the same reward from the same labour? We have the same school opened to us that was opened to them; for nature denies her instructions to none who desire to become her pupils. --http://www.authorama.com/seven-discourses-on-art-5.html [Oct 2005]
Inspired by Taste (1991) by Stephen Bayley
See also: 1770s - Stephen Bayley - style - genius - taste
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