UK

The Royal London Academy was the traditional center of art in England. Examples of academic painters were the (original Dutch) Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Josehp Wright of Derby . Tadema specialized in antique Greek-Roman and Egyptian scenes which he made almost photorealistic. He was very precise and detailed and used the nearby British Museum to paint his statues and objects historically accurate. Wright was a master of light and shadow, see the guided tour on this subject.

Another painter who started at the academy but later turned to a whole new almost impressionistic style was William Turner. Turner was a romantic painter in which colour and light became more important than figurative aspects. As in most other European countries, the resistance towards the academy resulted in a competing art gallery, the Grosvenor Gallery in Bond Street. Here the so called Aesthetic movement could flourish.

The first stage for this Aesthetic movement was the pre-raphelitic brotherhood. Important members were William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. They used a realistic style and combined this with an almost intoxicating colourpalette. A touching example is the blind girl from Millais. Holman Hunt became famous with his religious paintings. For this, he travelled to the Holy Land and meticulously paid attention to the landscape. An example of this is seen in his  “scape-goat” which is situated in the dead-sea region.

I will end with John Martin which is known for his apocalyptic canvasses.  Martin made a lot of frightening biblical scenes of destruction and fire. Some say that his fascination with fire in landscapes originated from his youth in Tyne valley with many forges and ironworks. A beautiful illustration of this nightly industrial fire was made by Philip de Loutherbourg in his Coalbrookdale by night.

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