Thursday, September 21, 2017

19th-century Picturesque

Adolph Menzel
Building-site with Willows
oil on canvas
Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

"Our common Willow of the woodier sort delights in Meads and Ditch-sides, rather dry, then over wet (for so they last longest) and would be planted of stakes as big as one's leg, cut at the length of five or six foot, and fix'd a foot or more into the earth; the hole made with an Oaken-stake and beetle, or with an Iron-crow (some use a long Augur) so as not to be forced in with too great violence: But first, the Trunchions should be a little slop'd at both extreams, and the biggest planted downwards: To this, if they are soak'd in water two or three days (after they have been siz'd for length, and the twigs cut off ere you plant them) it will be the better.  Let this be done in February.  Arms of four years growth will yield substantial sets to be planted at eight or ten foot distance; and for the first three years well defended from the Cattel, who infinitely delight in their leaves, green or wither'd."

 from Sylva (1664) written on commission for the Royal Society in London by John Evelyn (1620-1706) – edited by Guy de la Bédoyère for Boydell Press (1995) – "unfortunately under the Interregnum the destruction of landed estates, royal forests and other woodland in search of quick profits had created a potential crisis for the restored monarchy . . ."

William James Müller
Hanham Lock on the Avon
ca. 1840
oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

Gustav Richter
Lake in the Riesengebirge
oil on canvas
Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg
Avalanche in the Alps
oil on canvas
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg

Johan Thomas Lundbye
Danish Coast View from Kitnæs on Roskilde Fjord, Zealand
oil on canvas
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

John Martin
Kensington Gardens
oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

"But to turn this just indignation into Prayers, and address my self to our better-natur'd Country-men: May such Woods as do yet remain intire be carefully Preserv'd, and such as are destroy'd, sedulously Repair'd.  It is what every Person who is Owner of Land may contribute to, and with infinite delight, who are touch'd with that laudable Ambition of imitating their most illustrious Ancestors, whose Names we find mingl'd among Kings and Philosophers, Patriots and good Commonwealths-Men.  For such were of old Solomon, Cyrus, and Numa; Licinius sir-named Stolo, Cato, and Cincinnatus; the Pisoes, Gabii, Cicero, Plinies, and a thousand more whom I could ennumerate, that disdain'd not to exercise themselves in these Rusticities, as esteeming it the greatest accession of Honour to dignifie their lasting Names with such Rural marks as have consecrated their Memories, and transmitted them to us through so many Ages and Vicissitudes of the World."

Edwin Landseer
Highland Landscape
ca. 1830
oil on panel
Yale Center for British Art

John Constable
Trentham Park
ca. 1801
oil on paper, mounted on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

Caspar David Friedrich
Morning in the Mountains
before 1823
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Knut Baade
oil on paper
National Gallery of Norway, Oslo

Jean-Achille Benouville
View of Roman Countryside
oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Jean-Victor Bertin
Italian Landscape
oil on canvas
National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

Carl Gustav Carus
Memory of a Wooded Island in the Baltic Sea (Oak Trees by the Sea) 
ca. 1834-35
oil on canvas
Galerie Neue Meister, Dresden

"But to discourage none, Oaks prosper exceedingly in gravel, and moist Clays, which most other Trees abhor; yea, even the coldest clay grounds that will hardly graze: I have read, that there grow Oaks (some of which have contain'd ten loads apiece) out of the very Walls of Silcester in Hantshire, which seem to strike root in the very Stones.  It is indeed observ'd, that Oaks which grow in rough, stony grounds, and obstinat clays, are long before they come to any considerable stature; for such places, and all sort of Clay, is held but a step-mother to Trees; but in time they afford the most excellent Timber, having stood long, and got good rooting: The same we may affirm of the lightest sands, which produces a smoother-grain'd Timber, of all other the most useful for the Joyner.  What improvement the stirring of the ground about the roots of Oaks is to the Trees I have already hinted; and yet in Copses where they stand warm, and so thickn'd with the under-wood, as this culture cannot be practis'd, they prove in time to be goodly Trees."

Johan Christian Dahl
Study of Drifting Clouds
oil on paper, mounted on cardboard
National Gallery of Norway, Oslo