Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Chiaroscuro Printmaking Cranach, Raphael, Rubens...

October 18, 2018–January 14, 2019

In a pioneering miscellany of 120 prints preserved in the most significant Parisian collections (Edmond de Rothschild collection, Musée du Louvre; Bibliothèque Nationale de France; Fondation Custodia; École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts), as well as loans from French museums (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Besançon) and institutions abroad (British Museum, Ashmolean Museum, Rijksmuseum), this exhibition retraces one particular technique and aesthetic approach in the realm of printmaking: chiaroscuro printmaking, also known as color woodcutting.

It offers a chronological and geographic panorama of this medium via the most notable prints by or after the leading masters of the Renaissance and European Mannerism, such as Cranach, Raphael, Peter Paul Rubens, Parmigianino, Domenico Beccafumi, and Hans Baldung Grien.

Color woodcutting, known as chiaroscuro printmaking in Italy, first emerged in Germany in 1508–1510, and subsequently spread throughout Europe, where it was practiced with increasing sophistication until around 1650.

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 Hans Burgkmair Portrait dHans Baumgartner gravure en trois bois Oxford Ashmolean WA 1863-3053

The outcome of technical and artistic attempts to impart subtle nuances of color in printed form, chiaroscuro printmaking fascinated artists, who used it to explore the art of light and shade, a question dear to Leonardo da Vinci and Giorgio Vasari.

The effort to create this distinctive aesthetic placed chiaroscuro printmaking at the crossroads of other artistic practices, including tinted-paper and wash drawing, sgraffito mural painting, and stone mosaic; it is nevertheless a medium in its own right, using monochrome as another way of representing the world.

Beyond this dialogue between chiaroscuro printmaking and other art forms, the exhibition also addresses the questions of its production and reception. Printmaking was often the fruit of collaboration between the inventor of the composition—frequently a painter and draftsman—and a woodcutter or printer, who handled the color inking techniques, matrix size and superposition, and final rendering. The precious nature of these prints appealed to aficionados, who began collecting them in the 16th century.

The exhibition is part of a wider research project focused on the analysis of pigments and dyes from some forty chiaroscuro prints, funded by the Fondation des Sciences du Patrimoine, and involving the joint collaboration of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the Center for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France (C2RMF).

 Engraving in chiaroscuro. Cranach, Raphael, Rubens

Publication: exhibition catalogue, co-published by Musée du Louvre Éditions / Liénart Éditions. French, 224 pages, 150 illustrations, €29.

Spectacular Mysteries: Renaissance Drawings Revealed

J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center
December 11, 2018 – April 28, 2019

The Head of a Young Man, about 1539 – 1540, Parmigianino (Francesco Mazzola) (Italian, 1503 - 1540). Pen and brown ink. 16 × 10.5 cm (6 5/16 × 4 1/8 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

During the Italian Renaissance—the period from about 1475 to 1600 that is often seen as the foundation of later European art—drawing became increasingly vital to the artistic process just as it grew dramatically more sophisticated in technique and conception. Today, Italian Renaissance drawings are considered some of the most spectacular products of the western tradition. Yet, they often remain shrouded in mystery, their purpose, subjects, and even their makers unknown.

          Featuring drawings from the Getty Museum’s collection and rarely seen works from private collections, Spectacular Mysteries: Renaissance Drawings Revealed, on view December 11, 2018—April 28, 2019, at the J. Paul Getty Museum, highlights the detective work involved in investigating the mysteries behind master drawings.

          “The Getty’s collection of Italian drawings counts among the greatest in this country, and this exhibition will surprise many visitors with how much we still have to learn about these rare works of art,” explains Getty Museum Director Timothy Potts. “This display, which includes some of our best Italian drawings, provides many insights into the methods curators use to investigate the purpose and meaning of these superlative works of art, and some of the revelations they have disclosed.”

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Italian, about 1487 - 1576)
Pastoral Scene, about 1565
Pen and brown ink, black chalk, heightened with white gouache
19.5 × 30.2 cm (7 11/16 × 11 7/8 in.)
Accession No.
Object Credit:
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

          The practice of drawing flourished in Italy during the Renaissance, due to a surge in patronage for paintings, sculpture, and architecture, which went hand in hand with the rise of artists’ studios and a rigorous production process for these works. Many of the drawings produced at the time tell stories of their creation and the purposes they served, yet sometimes even the most seemingly simple question—who drew it?—is a mystery. Given the ease and informality with which a sketch can be made, its purpose and other information about it must be discovered from the only surviving evidence: the drawing itself.

Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian, 1475 - 1564)
Study of a Mourning Woman, about 1500 - 1505
Pen and brown ink, heightened with white lead opaque watercolor
26 × 16.5 cm (10 1/4 × 6 1/2 in.)
Accession No.
Object Credit:
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
          Clues about the artist can be uncovered by comparing a drawing with the stylistic characteristics of other sheets. In 1995, for example, a Sotheby’s expert looked at Study of a Mourning Woman (about 1500-05), and immediately recognized the distinctive penwork and handling of the drapery of Michelangelo. Subsequent study confirmed this attribution. The Getty acquired the drawing in 2017.

          Inscriptions can sometimes also be a useful clue to the artist, but should be treated with caution since they often reflect the over-optimistic attribution of a past owner. One work in the exhibition – Exodus (about 1540) – features many inscriptions. It took some time and much research to decipher which inscriptions belonged to past owners and which was that of the artist. Eventually, the drawing was attributed to Maturino da Firenze.

Two male standing figures by GIROLAMO MUZIANO

          Mysteries about the sitter, subject, and purpose can sometimes be revealed by linking a drawing to a painting, sculpture, or print. The purpose of Two Male Standing Figures (about 1556) was unknown until 2001 when the work was auctioned and identified as the work of Girolamo Muziano. At that time, it was determined to be a study for figures in an altarpiece the artist painted for the cathedral in Orvieto.

Circle of Annibale Carracci (Italian, 1560 - 1609)
St. Francis Kneeling in Ecstasy Before a Crucifix, n.d.
Pen and brown ink over red chalk, heightened with white,
Unframed: 20.4 × 29.4 cm (8 1/16 × 11 9/16 in.)
Accession No.
Object Credit:
Private collection, Los Angeles

          “As I try to learn more and more about these captivating works, I sometimes feel like a detective,” says Julian Brooks, senior curator of drawings and curator of the exhibition. “In the end, this exhibition is the story of what we know, what we don’t know, what we might know, and what we can’t know about these extraordinary works of art and their world.”

Paolo Farinati (Italian, 1524 - 1606)
Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, n.d.
Black chalk, pen and ink, washed ink heightened with white chalk
Unframed: 35 × 46 cm (13 3/4 × 18 1/8 in.)
Accession No.
Object Credit: Private Collection

          Spectacular Mysteries: Renaissance Drawings Revealed will be on view December 11, 2017 –April 28. 2019, at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Julian Brooks, senior curator in the Department of Drawings.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain

Next March, Tate Britain will open a major exhibition about Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain will be the first exhibition to take a new look at the artist through his relationship with Britain. It will explore how Van Gogh was inspired by British art, literature and culture throughout his career and how he in turn inspired British artists, from Walter Sickert to Francis Bacon.

Bringing together the largest group of Van Gogh paintings shown in the UK for nearly a decade, The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain will include over 45 works by the artist from public and private collections around the world.

Vincent van Gogh Self-Portrait 1889 National Gallery of Art
Vincent van Gogh Self-Portrait 1889 National Gallery of Art, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney
They include Self-Portrait 1889 from the National Gallery of Art, Washington,

 L'Arlésienne 1890 from Museu de Arte de São Paolo,

Image result for Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris,

Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris,  

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Shoes from the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam,

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and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery, London.

The exhibition will also feature late works including two painted by Van Gogh in the Saint-Paul asylum,

An old man with a bald head is sitting on a yellow chair by his fire. There is a low fire in the grate. He is dressed in blue clothes. He is holding his head in his hands.

At Eternity’s Gate 1890 from the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

and Prisoners Exercising 1890 from the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow.

Van Gogh spent several crucial years in London between 1873 and 1876, writing to his brother Theo, ‘I love London’. Arriving as a young trainee art dealer, the vast modern city prompted him to explore new avenues of life, art and love.

The exhibition will reveal Van Gogh’s enthusiasm for British culture during his stay and his subsequent artistic career. It will show how he responded to the art he saw, including works by John Constable and John Everett Millais as well as his love of British writers from William Shakespeare to Christina Rossetti. Charles Dickens in particular influenced Van Gogh’s style and subject matter throughout his career.

L'Arlésienne 1890, a portrait he created in the last year of his life in the south of France, features a favourite book by Dickens in the foreground.

The exhibition will also explore Van Gogh’s passion for British graphic artists and prints. Despite his poverty, he searched out and collected around 2,000 engravings, most from English magazines such as the Illustrated London News. ‘My whole life is aimed at making the things from everyday life that Dickens describes and these artists draw’ he wrote in his first years as a struggling artist. He returned to these prints in his final months, painting his only image of London, Prisoners Exercising, from Gustave Doré’s print of Newgate Prison.

Tracing Van Gogh from his obscure years in London to the extraordinary fame he achieved in Britain in the 1950s, the exhibition will show how his uncompromising art and life paved the way for modern British artists like Matthew Smith, Christopher Wood and David Bomberg.

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Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh I by Francis Bacon 1956 Oil on canvas, 154.1 x 115.6 cm Collection: Sainsbury Cen.

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Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait of Van Gogh III, 1957, Hirschorn Museum

Francis Bacon
Study for Portrait of Van Gogh IV
1957 Tate
It will conclude with an important group of portraits by Francis Bacon based on a Van Gogh self-portrait known only from photographs since its destruction during the Second World War.

 Self-Portrait with Felt Hat
Self-Portrait with Felt Hat, an 1887 painting by Van Gogh, which will form part of the Van Gogh and Britain exhibition. Photograph: Van Gogh Museum/PA

The exhibition will provide an opportunity to look afresh at well-known works by Van Gogh, through the eyes of the British artists he so inspired. To artists like Bacon, and the British public at large, Van Gogh epitomised the idea of the embattled, misunderstood artist, set apart from mainstream society.

The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain is organised by lead curator Carol Jacobi, Curator of British Art 1850-1915, Tate Britain and Chris Stephens, Director of Holburne Museum, Bath with Van Gogh specialist Martin Bailey and Hattie Spires, Assistant Curator Modern British Art, Tate Britain.

It will be accompanied by a major catalogue from Tate Publishing and a programme of talks and events in the gallery.

Monday, December 10, 2018

From Bosch's Stable. Hieronymus Bosch and The Adoration of the Magi

Jheronimus Bosch, De Aanbidding der Koningen, ca. 1475. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

On 1 December 2018, Het Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch will open the exhibition From Bosch's Stable. Hieronymus Bosch and The Adoration of the Magi. Just two years after the successful exhibition Hieronymus Bosch - Visions of a Genius in the spring of 2016,  the museum is once again bringing work by the world-famous Den Bosch master himself back to the city where he lived, worked and then died in 1516. The loan is exceptional: throughout the world, there remain only about  25 original paintings by Bosch.

"Following the phenomenal success of the Bosch exhibition in 2016, we made the commitment to continue researching Bosch, and to regularly bring the art of Hieronymus Bosch back to his home town, ’s‑Hertogenbosch. There is still so much to be discovered about Bosch and his workshop. This exhibition - From Bosch's Stable - is the first in a series of exhibitions that will demonstrate the master's influence on both his pupils and imitators through autograph pieces." - Charles de Mooij, Director, Het Noordbrabants Museum

The Adoration of the Magi

Hieronymus Boschca. 1475, 71.1 x 56.5cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art / John Stewart Kennedy Fund, New York.

The Adoration of the Magi

The painting due to arrive in Den Bosch in December is The Adoration of the Magi on loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It depicts the three magi paying homage to the Christ Child, held in the lap of the Virgin Mary.  Although this early piece by Hieronymus Bosch is relatively classical in its composition, it does contain a number of typically Boschian elements, such as the face of Christ, the small figures in the background and an owl - a bird that repeatedly features in paintings by the artist.


The theme of the exhibition is Epiphany - or Three Kings' Day - a religious festival that was extremely popular in visual arts in the latter Middle Ages. The period produced a great number of depictions of the festival; full of exotic figures in lavish costumes and with luxuriant attributes. Hieronymus Bosch also portrayed the theme numerous times. Two of those autograph paintings have been preserved: one held in the collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the other at the Museo del Prado (Madrid).  Both paintings were copied and imitated early on, proving their desirability. The exhibition From Bosch's Stable – Hieronymus Bosch and The Adoration of the Magi has a strong focus on this imitation of Bosch.

From Bosch's Stable

The early appreciation for his work in Bosch's own era is remarkable: with more than 30 surviving early copies, Bosch's interpretation is one of the most popular compositions from the late medieval Netherlands. The Bosch Research and Conservation Project has been researching the work and atelier of Bosch since 2010 and has examined a number of these copies closely. The findings have led to some surprising new insights.

In addition to the autograph piece from New York, the exhibition will show artworks by Bosch followers from The National Trust collections in England (Petworth House and Upton House). Paintings and prints by contemporaries such as Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen, Martin Schongauer and Lucas van Leyden will also be on display, immersing visitors in the Epiphany narrative.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Oskar Kokoschka - A Retroprective

Kunsthaus Zürich 14 December 2018 – 10 March 2019

The Kunsthaus Zürich presents Oskar Kokoschka – Expressionist, migrant and pacifist – in the first retrospective of his work in Switzerland for 30 years. The highlight among the more than 200 exhibits is the monumental ‘Prometheus Triptych’, which has never before been seen in Switzerland.
Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980) is, along with Francis Picabia and Pablo Picasso, one of a generation of artists who retained their allegiance to figurative painting after the Second World War, even as abstract art was consolidating its predominance.

It is also thanks to them that non-representational painting and figurative art can now be practised side by side without partisan feuding. Artists of the present day value the gestural articulation of his brushwork, praise his open-minded, cosmopolitan attitudes or share the pacifism that, especially after the traumatic experiences of the First World War, runs like a thread through Kokoschka’s work, life and legacy.

Following his last major solo show in 1986, the Kunsthaus now sets out to acquaint a new generation of visitors with this artist, who died by Lake Geneva in 1980 and whose works are held in substantial numbers in both Vevey and Zurich.

Migrant and European

The retrospective traces the motifs and motivations of a painter who felt at home in no fewer than five countries. Curator Cathérine Hug has brought together 100 paintings and an equal number of works on paper, photographs and letters from all phases of his career. They reveal that while Kokoschka’s art was defamed as ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis, the artist himself came through the ordeal relatively unscathed, making a living executing commissions for celebrated figures in the worlds of literature, architecture and politics. In exile he becomes an indomitable champion of freedom, democracy and human rights; a humanist whose work is broad enough to encompass everything from landscapes and portraits to mythological figures and metaphors denouncing the horrors of war and defending the power of love and the beauty of nature. It is this independent-minded artistic language of political protest that makes Kokoschka unique.

Triptychs on show for the first time outside Britain
Two impressive triptychs, each around eight metres wide and two metres high –


Triptych - Prometheus
Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), Triptych – Prometheus, 1950 (January to July), The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London/DACS 2003
oil and mixed technique on canvas,
Prometheus: 239 x 234 cm,
The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld
Gallery, London, © Fondation Oskar Kokoschka /
2018 ProLitteris, Zurich

Triptych - Apocalypse
Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), Triptych – Apocalypse, 1950 (January to July), The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London/DACS 2003
Triptych - Hades and Persephone
Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), Triptych – Hades and Persephone, 1950 (January to July), The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London/DACS 2003
‘The Prometheus Triptych’ (1950, Courtauld Gallery, London)

 6 kokoschka 1
Foto: UHH/Karin Plessing & Reinhard Scheiblich
Inventarnummer: Inv.-Nr. 05-06
Künstler: Oskar Kokoschka
Titel: Thermopylae oder Der Kampf um die Errettung des Abendlandes
Technik / Material: Tempera auf Leinwand
Datierung: 1954
Maße: 225 x 800 cm
Standort: Philosophenturm, EG, Hörsaal D
6 kokoschka 2
Foto: UHH/Karin Plessing & Reinhard Scheiblich
Inventarnummer: Inv.-Nr. 05-06
Künstler: Oskar Kokoschka
Titel: Thermopylae oder Der Kampf um die Errettung des Abendlandes
Technik / Material: Tempera auf Leinwand
Datierung: 1954
Maße: 225 x 800 cm
Standort: Philosophenturm, EG, Hörsaal D
 6 kokoschka 3
Foto: UHH/Karin Plessing & Reinhard Scheiblich
Inventarnummer: Inv.-Nr. 05-06
Künstler: Oskar Kokoschka
Titel: Thermopylae oder Der Kampf um die Errettung des Abendlandes
Technik / Material: Tempera auf Leinwand
Datierung: 1954
Maße: 225 x 800 cm
Standort: Philosophenturm, EG, Hörsaal D
and ‘Thermopylae’ (1954, University of Hamburg) – are the high point of Kokoschka’s mature oeuvre, and of this retrospective. The two works have only been shown together once before, at the Tate in 1962. They were created during a transitional phase: after a decade of wartime exile Kokoschka moved in 1953 to Villeneuve in Switzerland, where he lived until his death in 1980.

The imposing ‘Prometheus’ triptych – originally a ceiling decoration for an aristocratic client in London – has not been shown outside the British Isles since 1953, when it travelled to the Venice Biennale. Like the ‘Thermopylae’ triptych the depiction of Prometheus, originator of human civilization, enjoins human beings to come together as brothers and sisters in peace and freedom. Aside from their content, these works also document the creative process that set Kokoschka apart from his contemporaries. The brushwork and colour progressions reveal the artist’s movements – a performative production process unusual in figurative painting. Kokoschka, the Expressionist who remained faithful to figurativism and founded a ‘School of Seeing’ that endures to this day in Salzburg, was regarded by many at the time as anti-modern; in fact he fought for democratic access to education and an open society.

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Oskar Kokoschka, Mother and Child
Embracing, 1921–1922,
oil on canvas, 121 x 81 cm,
Belvedere, Wien, © Fondation
Oskar Kokoschka / 2018 ProLitteris, Zurich

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Oskar Kokoschka, Double Portrait of Oskar
Kokoschka and Alma Mahler, 1912/1913,
oil on canvas, 100 x 90 cm,
Museum Folkwang, Essen,
photo: Museum Folkwang Essen/Artothek,
© Fondation Oskar Kokoschka /
2018 ProLitteris, Zurich

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Oskar Kokoschka, Time, Gentlemen Please,
1971/1972, oil on canvas, 130 x 100 cm,
Tate: Purchased 1986, photo: Tate, London 2018,
© Fondation Oskar Kokoschka / 2018 ProLitteris, Zurich

Oskar Kokoschka, Paul Scheerbart, 1910, 
huile sur toile, 70 × 47 cm, Neue Galerie New
York, don de la Serge and Vally Sabarsky Foundation, Inc., © Fondation Oskar Kokoschka / 2018 ProLitteris, Zurich
Oskar Kokoschka, Paul Scheerbart, 1910,
huile sur toile, 70 × 47 cm, Neue Galerie New
York, don de la Serge and Vally Sabarsky
Foundation, Inc., © Fondation Oskar Kokoschka /
2018 ProLitteris, Zurich

Kunsthaus Zürich Oskar Kokoschka. Expressionist, Migrant, European. A Retrospective. (English edition)

A catalogue in English and German (320 pages, 300 colour illustrations) published by Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, is available from the Kunsthaus shop and bookstores: ‘Oskar Kokoschka. Expressionist, Migrant, European’ with new essays by Régine Bonnefoit, Iris Bruderer-Oswald, Martina Ciardelli, Birgit Dalbajewa, Heike Eipeldauer, Katharina Erling, Cathérine Hug, Aglaja Kempf, Alexandra Matzner, Raimund Meyer, Bernadette Reinhold, Heinz Spielmann and Patrick Werkner.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Turner and Constable: The Inhabited landscape

Clark Art Institute 

December 15, 2018–March 10, 2019

Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775–1851) and John Constable (English, 1776–1837) rose to prominence as landscape artists in early nineteenth-century Britain. Their inspired subjects, their distinctive compositions, and their innovative brushwork combined to elevate a genre traditionally considered less important than history painting and portraiture. Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape, on view at the Clark Art Institute December 15, 2018–March 10, 2019, explores the significance of human figures and the built environment in the landscape, as well as the personal significance of specific places to each artist.

The exhibition features more than fifty paintings, drawings and watercolors, prints, and books, a beautiful selection of which are on loan from the Yale Center for British Art and the Chapin Library at Williams College. The works in the show are primarily drawn from the Clark’s Manton Collection of British Art, created by Sir Edwin Manton and given to the Clark by the Manton Art Foundation in 2007. This transformative gift included more than 250 oil paintings, sketches, works on paper, and prints, making the Clark a center for the study of nineteenth-century British Art.

“One of the real joys of visiting the Clark is the opportunity to consider magnificent landscapes in our galleries while surrounded by the natural beauty of our own campus,” said Olivier Meslay, the Hardymon Director of the Clark. “The Manton collection is so special to us because it is a rich resource that continues to inspire our curators to consider these works through a myriad of lenses. With this exhibition we will look at landscapes in a different context—and we’re particularly excited because this concept provides a perfect opportunity to present several works that have never been shown at the Clark, while many others are rarely on view due to their delicate nature.”

Alexis Goodin, the Clark’s Curatorial Research Associate, organized the exhibition. “It’s easy to overlook the people depicted in the landscapes of Turner and Constable,” said Goodin. “Often these artists’ figures are small, quickly painted, and sometimes not anatomically correct—qualities that might make them seem less relevant to a breathtaking landscape view. When one begins identifying the people within landscapes and their actions, however, these figures can reveal social and political concerns of the time as well as the artists’ interests and connections to the places depicted. We hope this exhibition opens up a new understanding of these works for our visitors and deepens their appreciation for two of the most revered landscape painters of the nineteenth century.”

The exhibition considers a variety of elements presented in landscapes by both Turner and Constable and creates a framework for appreciating the ways in which these figures lend added meaning to the works. They include:

The Observed Landscape

Turner and Constable created a wide range of landscapes and seascapes throughout their careers. They often depicted familiar places that shed light on the personal histories of the artists. Figures incorporated into these landscapes were important to the picture’s narrative and not merely a measure of scale.

Constable, having spent his honeymoon in the seaside village of Osmington, recorded this place of personal importance.

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Osmington Bay (1816) reveals nature’s grandeur on an intimate scale. The figures—including a fisherman mending a net, a shepherd, and a mother with her child—show the beach as a place of both work and leisure.

In the painting Osmington Village (1816–17, Yale Center for British Art), smoke billows from the chimney of the vicarage while people make their way by cart or foot along the village lane, conveying both domestic comfort and productivity within the landscape.

Laborers in the Landscape

Laborers—ploughmen, shepherds, laundresses, fishermen, sailors—populate many of Constable’s and Turner’s landscapes and seascapes. The workers’ presence animates the natural world and underscores the potential abundance of the land or sea. Contemporary accounts reveal difficult working conditions and the extreme poverty of agricultural workers, conditions often not apparent in the artists’ portrayals. The laborers’ presence invites the observer to consider how the environment shaped them, and how they influenced their surroundings. The ways in which Turner and Constable rendered laborers within their landscapes may also shed light on how they viewed the workers.

The Wheat Field (1816) presents a view across a valley in Constable’s native Suffolk. Harvesters cut down the golden wheat with scythes, reapers bundle the stalks, and gleaners collect leftover grains while a boy and his dog guard lunch. The idealized scene belies the heat of the sun and the long hours of monotonous and sometimes painful work. Constable’s inclusion of different classes working together suggests that commercial success and charity were not mutually exclusive. This sympathetic treatment of the poor came at a time when the landless classes were increasingly denied access to places that they had traditionally used to grow food or graze animals.

Laborers fill the foreground in Turner’s Saumur from the Île d'Offart, with the Pont Cessart and the Château in the Distance (c. 1830). In this scene of the town of Saumur, located on the Loire River in west central France, washerwomen spread out laundry to dry on the steps while men load cargo onto barges. The workers bring the picturesque view to life, showing the town as a center of commercial prosperity.

The Literary Landscape

Turner often turned to literary texts for source material, situating characters in settings that enhanced their stories or populating imaginary landscapes with familiar narratives. He was commissioned to design illustrations for literary publications, supplying finished watercolors that printmakers would turn into engravings used in bound volumes.

Turner spent the summer of 1831 in Scotland, sketching landscapes described in Sir Walter Scott’s poems and novels for a proposed illustrated edition of the author’s works. The project never came to fruition, but Turner worked up his drawings for a related publication.  

Wolf's Hope, Eyemouth (c. 1835) is one of six finished watercolors translated into illustrations for Rev. George Wright’s Landscape-Historical Illustrations of Scotland and the Waverly Novels (1836). Wolf’s Hope, Eyemouth illustrates one of the settings in Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Bride of Lammermoor (1819), showing the harbor town where the novel’s tragic hero, Edgar Ravenswood, resided in a dilapidated castle called Wolf’s Crag.

The Built Landscape

The buildings within Constable’s and Turner’s works not only identify the geography and place their landscapes within time, but also reveal each artist’s personal connections to place. Constable found inspiration in the English countryside, often highlighting the small villages, cottages, churches, cathedrals, and other built structures that he encountered.

Salisbury Cathedral and its environs held special meaning for Constable, as his good friends and patrons the Bishop of Salisbury John Fisher and his nephew, John Fisher, later Archdeacon of Berkshire, resided there. Inspired by the majestic gothic cathedral, he painted this important seat of the Anglican faith from many viewpoints, often emphasizing the spire towering over the plain. For Constable, a member of the Church of England, the church was not just architecture or a relic of the past, but a symbol of enduring faith. Indeed, as a seat of Anglican worship, Salisbury represented steadfastness and tradition in a time of increasing challenges to its authority, including the rise of Evangelicalism and the revival of Anglo-Catholicism brought on by the Oxford movement in the mid-1830s. The exhibition presents four works in various media depicting the cathedral—three from the Manton Collection of British Art and a fourth collected by Sterling and Francine Clark in 1945.

Turner grew up in London, and the city provided him with his earliest subjects.


His watercolor The Tower of London (c. 1794) served as the basis for an engraving published in The Pocket Magazine on January 1, 1795. Viewed from across the Thames, the White Tower, built in 1078 and famously used as a prison until 1952, rises majestically above a city awash with light. Large mast ships on either side of the small composition frame the view of this historic fortress. The still water of the Thames reflects the boats and buildings, giving the scene a timeless calm. The absence of figures and narrative allows the focus to remain on the built environment.

Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape is presented in the Clark’s special exhibition galleries in the Clark Center. The Clark will present a companion installation of sixteen landscape drawings by Thomas Gainsborough in the Manton Gallery for British Art, located in the Manton Research Center, from December 1, 2018–March 17, 2019.

Fourteen of the Gainsborough drawings on view in this installation are from the Manton collection. Though recognized as one of the most fashionable portrait painters in the eighteenth century, Gainsborough made hundreds of drawings of the English landscape. Abundant with foliage, cottages, and pastoral figures, the works evoke the gentle woodland and heath of the artist’s native Suffolk and the mountainous Lake District of Cumbria. Gainsborough’s landscape drawings in this presentation reveal the artist’s fascination with mixed-media technique: graphite, chalks, ink washes, watercolor, and oil paints intermingle on toned papers.


The Manton Collection of British Art is considered one of the greatest collections of British art assembled in the last fifty years. Highlights of the collection include John Constable’s contemplative views of the English countryside and strikingly naturalistic oil studies; Joseph Mallord William Turner’s turbulent, quasi-abstract seascapes; Thomas Gainsborough’s rigorous chalk drawings; and Thomas Rowlandson’s humorous watercolors caricaturing British life. The collection includes more than 300 works and also features great suites of watercolors, drawings, and prints by such artists as Thomas Girtin, Richard Parkes Bonington, Samuel Palmer, John Martin, and William Blake.

The collection was created by business leader and arts patron Sir Edwin A. G. Manton (1909–2005) and his wife Florence, Lady Manton (1911–2003), who began collecting in the 1940s. Born in Essex County, just twenty miles from “Constable Country” in the east of England, Sir Edwin arrived in New York in 1933 to help develop the American International Group. Although he spent the remainder of his life in the United States, his love of British art was testimony to his continued devotion to his native country.

Sir Edwin was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1994 for his generous contributions to the Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain) in London. Throughout his life, his appetite for art collecting never diminished. “I am a compulsive buyer,” he once observed. “It's better than spending your money on bottles of Scotch.” This collection, a gift from the Manton Foundation in 2007, constitutes the most significant addition of art to the Clark since it was founded in 1955 and perfectly complements the Clark’s holdings of nineteenth-century French and American art.

The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 270,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

Image credits

1. Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775–1851), Saumur from the Île d'Offart, with the Pont Cessart and the Château in the Distance, c. 1830. Watercolor and gouache with pen and black and brown ink over traces of graphite on blue wove paper, 5 x 7 9/16 in. Clark Art Institute. Gift of the Manton Art Foundation in memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton, 2007.8.112


2. Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775–1851), The Tower of London, c. 1794. Watercolor over graphite on cream wove paper, 4 7/8 x 6 3/4 in. Clark Art Institute. Gift of the Manton Art Foundation in memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton, 2007.8.102

3. John Constable (English, 1776–1837), Osmington Village, 1816-17. Oil on canvas, 10 1/8 °— 12 in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B2001.2.156

4. John Constable (English, 1776–1837), Yarmouth Jetty, c. 1822–23. Oil on canvas, 12 3/4 x 20 1/8 in. Clark Art
Institute. Gift of the Manton Art Foundation in memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton, 2007.8.36

5. John Constable (English, 1776–1837), The Wheat Field, 1816. Oil on canvas, 21 1/2 x 30 3/4 in. Clark Art
Institute. Gift of the Manton Art Foundation in memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton, 2007.8.27

6. John Constable (English, 1776–1837), The Houses of Parliament on Fire, 1834. Pen and ink with watercolor on
cream wove paper, 3 1/4 x 4 3/16 in. Clark Art Institute. Gift of the Manton Art Foundation in memory of Sir Edwin
and Lady Manton, 2007.8.52

7. Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775–1851), Rockets and Blue Lights (Close at Hand) to Warn
Steamboats of Shoal Water, 1840. Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 48 1/8 in. Clark Art Institute, 1955.37

8. Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775–1851), Brunnen, from the Lake of Lucerne, 1845. Watercolor and
gouache on paper, 11 7/16 x 18 3/4 in. Clark Art Institute, 1955.1865

9. Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775–1851), Wolf's Hope, Eyemouth, c. 1835. Watercolor and gouache
over graphite, with scraping, on cream wove paper, 4 1/8 x 6 1/2 in. Clark Art Institute. Gift of the Manton Art
Foundation in memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton, 2007.8.115

10. John Constable (English, 1776–1837), Salisbury Cathedral from the River Avon, July 23, 1829. Graphite on
cream wove paper, 9 1/8 x 13 1/4 in. Clark Art Institute. Gift of the Manton Art Foundation in memory of Sir Edwin
and Lady Manton, 2007.8.47

11. John Constable (English, 1776–1837), Willy Lott's House, c.1812–13. Oil on canvas, 13 3/4 x 17 1/8 in. Clark ArtInstitute. Gift of the Manton Art Foundation in memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton, 2007.8.24

Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice

Palazzo Ducale, Venice, September 7–January 6, 2019
National Gallery of Art, Washington, March 10–July 7, 2019

Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice, the first retrospective of the artist in North America, features nearly 50 paintings and more than a dozen works on paper spanning the artist's entire career. Included in the rich selection of domestic and international loans are works ranging from regal portraits of Venetian aristocracy to religious and mythological narrative scenes. In addition, Tintoretto will explore the artist's working methods.

The exhibition curators are Tintoretto experts Robert Echols, independent scholar, and Frederick Ilchman, chair of the Art of Europe department and Mrs. Russell W. Baker Curator of Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. While Tintoretto was considered one of the "Big Three" 16th-century Venetian painters alongside Titian and Paolo Veronese during his lifetime and in the succeeding centuries, works by Tintoretto's assistants and followers have frequently been misattributed to the master. Echols and Ilchman are widely responsible for a new and more accurate understanding of Tintoretto's oeuvre and chronology, first explored in the Museo del Prado's Tintoretto exhibition in 2007.


A fully illustrated exhibition catalog will be published in English and Italian and include a range of essays by the curators and other leading scholars as well as new research and scientific studies of Tintoretto's work.

View Inside Price: $65.00

October 16, 2018
336 pages, 9 3/4 x 11 3/4
240 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300230406
Published in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington
Published on the 500th anniversary of Tintoretto’s birth, this unprecedented publication celebrates one of Renaissance Italy’s greatest painters

Jacopo Tintoretto (1518 or 1519–1594) was known for the remarkable energy of his work. His contemporary Giorgio Vasari described him as the “most extraordinary brain that painting has ever produced.” Considered to be one of the three great painters of 16th-century Venice, along with Titian and Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto is admired for his dramatic treatments of sacred and secular narrative subjects and his insightful portraits of the Venetian aristocracy. His bold and expressive brushwork, which made his paintings seem unfinished to his contemporaries, is now recognized as a key step in the development of oil-on-canvas painting.

This lavishly illustrated study, published to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the artist’s birth, features more than forty of Tintoretto’s paintings, including many large-scale pieces that convey the breadth and power of his narrative works, along with a sample of his finest drawings. An international group of scholars led by Robert Echols and Frederick Ilchman explores Tintoretto’s artistic activity and situates his life and work in the context of his contemporaries’ work and of the Renaissance in Italy, providing a fundamental point of reference for modern scholarship and an essential introduction to the artist’s career and oeuvre.
Robert Echols is an independent scholar and curator who has worked on exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, Washington; Museo del Prado, Madrid; and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Frederick Ilchman is chair of Art of Europe and the Mrs. Russell W. Baker Curator of Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia with the collaboration of the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice.

Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice
Jacopo Tintoretto, Summer, c. 1555, oil on canvas, overall: 105.7 x 193 cm (41 5/8 x 76 in.) framed: 135.9 x 224.8 x 8.5 cm (53 1/2 x 88 1/2 x 3 3/8 in.) , National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Samuel H. Kress Collection

Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice
Jacopo Tintoretto, Man with a Golden Chain, c. 1555, oil on canvas, overall: 104 x 77 cm (40 15/16 x 30 5/16 in.), Museo Nacional del Prado, ©Photographic Archive Museo Nacional del Prado

Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice
Jacopo Tintoretto, Self-Portrait, c. 1588, oil on canvas, overall: 63 x 52 cm (24 13/16 x 20 1/2 in.) framed: 93.5 x 84.5 cm (36 13/16 x 33 1/4 in.) , Musée du Louvre- Départment des Peintures