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From the Academy to Nature. Forms of Landscape Painting in Central Europe 1860–1890

8. March 2019 — 30. June 2019
Esterházy Palace,
Curator: Katarína Beňová

This exhibition, organized jointly by the Slovak National Gallery and the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen, is among the first efforts at concentrating on the work by art personalities who moved between the Danube Monarchy and that time's visual art centres, responding to the attraction of the plein-air landscape.

Plein-air landscape painting (from the French "en plein air" - outdoors) developed significantly in Central Europe in the second half of the 19th century, influenced by the so-called Barbizon school and French realism. Artists in this group, and many of their successors throughout Europe, captured ephemeral natural features and conveyed their own personal perspectives of how they saw landscapes. This influence came across in the selected artists' works during this very period of the 1860s to the 1880s. Of particular note here are the opportunities and personal contacts that Central European artists had, and how they took inspiration and new approaches from post-Romantic landscape painting.

The "paysage intime" (intimate landscape) focused on live reality and domestic and country life, and helped transform the landscape toward modern art. Painters both adapted to new composition schemata, often employing a low horizon, and in technique discovered impasto and a freer use of colour.

There was a difference compared to developments in France: whereas Barbizon school and Impressionist pieces were presented as part of a group movement, in this region it was primarily individuals that so worked. These individuals had to have sufficient talent as well as financial resources either to get themselves directly to the centre of artistic activity, or to absorb the new trends through other, geographically closer centres and with a delay. Those of the landscape painter generation presented here rendered realistically the natural world, as well as the theme of man and nature. Their works were appreciated, among other things, for their ability to capture the chosen theme or segment of countryside and their unique atmosphere.

Accompanying the exhibition is an extensive 232-page publication, reflecting the main themes of the exhibition, with expert studies by Katarína Beňová and Markéta Theinhardt.

Expert Cooperation / Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen: Ivana Skálová, Petra Kočová


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