Monday, 10 August 2009

Monet to Corot

This free show is on at the National Gallery, London until Sept. 20. There are lots of small landscapes by minor artists of the early 19th century – such as Thomas Jones, whose well known Naples Wall is only about the size of a postcard. They set a fashion for sketching in oils in the open air, and the favourite location was Rome. They liked the way giant ruined buildings were added onto by the modern Romans and used as gardens, houses and cowsheds – the domestic meets the sublime. There's an air of melancholy and quiet. Traffic on the roads is usually one creaking ox-cart. Corot made a lot of sketches of French rivers and willows which he turned into his trademark silvery grey scenes. Eugene Boudin painted people on seaside holidays in the 1860s and 70s. They sat on chairs under parasols and wore an awful lot of clothes. His pictures are full of the light of a rather chilly day and convey the discomfort of sitting on a beach in a crinoline. Lovely show - see it while you can.

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