Monday, 17 March 2014

A Dialogue with Nature: Romantic Landscapes from Britain and Germany Exhibition at London's Courtauld Gallery.

Being the little culture-vulture that I am, I couldn't resist heading out on what has been a rather unlikely seasonal start to sunshine-filled March, to view the 'A Dialogue with Nature: Romantic Landscapes from Britain and Germany' exhibition, at London's supreme Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House.

'Tis the season for elegant wonderings, pleasure gardens & frolicking amongst the darling buds of Springtime, so armed with my camera & mandatory sketchbook (parasol & period costume optional), I threw-on my prettiest, vintage-inspired, salmon-pink summer dress from Collectif Clothing & one of their nifty-fifties accompanying cardigans, slipped my freshly pedicured tootsies into the vintage, cream wedges my lovely man bought me & made my way on an afternoon free of study...

After spending the past week or so having my brunette head buried deep in books on ancient magick in Herbalism & Phytotherapy, Holistic & Herbal Therapies, plant & flower uses in medicine, cooking etc (I'm becoming quite the little Herbalist). It was a lovely way to spend a day; breathing in the natural beauty around me & treating my magpie-peepers to romantic landscapes, fit for the likes of a fairytales, myths & legends.

I had been meaning to see this exhibition since I first heard about it last year. I was quite surprised to find an exhibition of the likes of one of my favourite British artists J.M.W Turner & German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich on display. They're seemingly more the subject of admiration within institutions as The National Gallery or The Tate Britain, I thought to myself as I purchased my ticket. I smiled pleasantly at one of the lady warders whose facial expression seemed to echo my thoughts. As if telepathically or psychically reading my mind, she began to inform me that the Courtauld's impressive collection stretches from the early Renaissance period, well into the 20th century. And what an elegant setting Somerset House was for such a collection...

Like many, when reflecting on previous exhibitions & displays at The Courtauld Gallery, you're most likely to be greeted by an array of the celebrated artistic works by Impressionists & Post-Impressionists, least likely a collection of British Romantic drawings & watercolours. What impressed me most about this collection, was the fantastic grouping of work silently & yet so powerfully depicting elements of German Romantic landscapes, painted by likes of the great Karl Friedrich Lessing & Caspar David Friedrich to name a few.

Caspar David Friedrich, Moonlit landscape, around 1808.
It was during the late eighteenth century & early nineteenth century that a number of German & British artists appeared on the scene, transforming landscape art in Europe into more romantic & appealing scenes, rather than that of pure observation. Landscape art took on a new level of meaning altogether. It evoked depths worthy of the esoteric, invoked the Deva (spirits of nature). Idealism replaced Realism; an art-form & way of observing that was certainly prized above all by their predecessors... What were eras scarred by the upheaval political revolutions, man & woman alike could gaze in awe at the beauty of what stood before them in all it's idealised & romantic grandeur, their minds wonder. They could, for a momentary gaze in time- ponder, reflect, muse, escape...

To me, these mater-pieces blend the beauty of the European landscape into a dreamy hue of the direct study of nature & the interpretation & limitless ability of the inner eye of the imagination; the third eye if you will. It appears to be a visual dialogue with nature. After all, the most beautiful things in this world are not seen by the naked eye, but are felt, depicted from a man's soul & imagination...

The bijous exhibition features a collection of twenty-six sketched drawings, watercolours & oil sketches. You are treated to the works of Carl Philipp Fohr & Johann Georg von Dillis, in addition to their British contemporaries; Turner, Constable, Samuel Palmer, Thomas Girtin & J.M.W Turner.

Carl Philipp Fohr, The Ruins of Hohenbaden, 1814-15.

'A Dialogue with Nature: Romantic Landscapes from Britain and Germany' runs from the 30th of January to the 27th of April 2014.


30 January - 27 April 2014
John Robert Cozens (1752-1797)
A ruined fort near Salerno (detail), c. 1782
The Courtauld Gallery.

Carl Philipp Fohr (1795-1818)
The Ruins of Hohenbaden, 1814-15
The Morgan Library and Museum

Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840)
Moonlit landscape (detail), c. 1808
The Morgan Library and Museum.

Samuel Palmer (1805-1881)
The Haunted Stream (detail), c. 1826
The Morgan Library and Museum.

Karl Friedrich Lessing (1808-1880)
Landscape with a cemetery and a church, 1837.
The Morgan Library and Museum.


Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)
On Lake Lucerne, looking towards Fluelen, 1841.
The Courtauld Gallery.
More about A Dialogue with Nature: Romantic Landscapes from Britain and Germany

                                                                    Lover-Doll Presley
                                                                            x TCB x

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