Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch
Opens: 06/02/2013 Closes: 28/04/2013
The National Gallery, London
Now Attenborough's TV spectacle Africa has finished, you'll have to get your fix of natural majesty with some 19th-century American painting. Hudson River School artist Church channeled romantic notions of a perfect balance between nature and people, and this show features his most remarkable creation, the two-metre-long Niagara Falls.
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“Many of the best could match Constable — so why aren’t more on show?” These sketches are, in the circumstances, wonderfully assured, the work of a man whose intellectual certainty commands his skills, his record of observation immediate and precise, yet — above all — painterly...
“Chances are, you won’t go back to Church...” Concentrating on the oil sketches Church made on the hoof on trips to upstate New York and further afield, this small display sidesteps most of his painterly histrionics – through American eyes but tailored for English tastes, perhaps...
“A historical record of the mindset of mid-19th-century America...” Piety as visual imagination, a pre-Darwinian sense of harmonious design yet a scientist’s accuracy and a pioneer’s thrill of place...
The Arts Desk
“Extraordinary fluency with colour, texture and composition...” The controlled exuberance and enthusiastic tenacity with which natural features are portrayed in these closely-observed scenes are almost hypnotic in their effect...