字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 They're not strictly cityscape painters and they're not strictly pure landscape painters either, they're something in-between and the garden, of course is the perfect setting for them to explore this middle ground. These artists were like boys in a toy shop. They had new plants, they had new technology and a wonderful opportunity and the creativity to use that to express themselves in a very different way. The term "impressionist" was first used in a pejorative context of a painting which is now in the Museum of Marmottan in Paris, by Monet and one of the critics said "Oh, it's just a mere impression". And gradually, this word impression caught on. We tend nowadays to restrict the definition to those artists the most famous artists from that group Monet, Pissarro, Degas etc. but actually in the 19th century it would have had a broader currency and been applied to a broader range of artists. The general public became aware of the opportunities in botany, I think particularly in the mid 1800s with the work of the French missionaries, with new plants coming back from China. Many of these plants were new colours, they were new shapes, they were new forms. They were alien, completely alien to what we had been seeing in Europe before and much more exotic and much more flamboyant. This is really rather a famous picture. It's by Claude Monet and it's very, in some ways, private and affectionate image. There's a wealth of plant and flower life in this picture, I think, David. I think very, very definitely and I think it's a picture that many people could relate to today because a lot of the plants that are in it are things that we grow today in our gardens. We've got along the front of the picture to the right, a very colourful bed with what is probably lobelia along the front and then a window box filled with whats most likely nasturtiums and possibly some little pendulous begonias hanging down from it. In the large jar to the left of the picture, to the left of his son, this big oriental jar. Inside it is a dracaena; this is an exotic succulent from the tropics. It wouldn't grow outside all year round; it would have to be taken into the house in the winter. And there is another painting by Monet that depicts these same jars in a room inside the house. So he was taking the plants in and out to avoid frost damage with some of them. And the others, he was growing simple things, from seed, on a seasonal basis. "En Plein Air" is a term that had been used for some considerable time. In French art it means "in the open air". For your great landscape, your historical landscape painting that was going to be produced in the studio, you needed to do preparatory studies. And just as for a figure painting, you would go into the studio and have a model in front of you and you'd study somebody's arm, or the overall pose, or whatever - the anatomy. So if you're going to portray nature, you needed to get out there into nature itself and make the sketches, at least in the open air. The great thing that the impressionists did of course was to dispense with this two-part process. The open air painting became the final painting. Paris was really the centre of the art world during the 19th century. There had been a lot of technical advances. We know there were technical advances in theories about colour and these new industrial paints were also being produced, the sort of paints that we're now familiar with. And these bright new colours, I think, inspired the young Monet, Pissarro etc. to be very experimental. And there was also something revolutionary about impressionism in terms of the subject matter. It was wanting to throw over history painting, religious painting and to get painting up to date to paint modern life. It's almost as though there's a clash between two worlds here in this painting in that you've got this cultivated rural scene, and in the distance, you know, the industrial world with all its hardness and technicality and stresses of life. The person who works in the factory will have quite a different way of life to the person who works in the orchard itself. And it's quite - as a composition - it's quite schematic; laid out into planes with large areas of fairly flat colouring and these rather sort of diagrammatic, almost, trees: and and we know that he was terribly interested in Japanese art. Something of that Japanese quality comes over in this composition. Oh, I think very definitely in the way that the trees are depicted. You can just see his hand going straight down in one motion, capturing the branch. It's tremendous! What is grown in the working garden is intended for consumption to be eaten. Only certain of the impressionists are really interested in this subject and the one who was interested above all, of course, was Camille Pissarro, who's a very interesting person from many points of view but one of those points of view is that he was more politically involved, I think, than the other impressionists. He was more interested in left-wing philosophy, he flirted with anarchism and it's almost Marxist in a way to say he recognised the value of work; the value of manual labour. I think a lot of these artists were seeking a connection with the land, with nature. Even if he wasn't growing the fruit and vegetables for himself physically, he was getting that connection with the land through illustrating this sort of scene, which was possibly not popular with galleries at the time, I don't know. Well, some of the critics, they sort of voiced disapproval of his liking for market garden scenes such as this, but of course as far as the peasant workers themselves are concerned, Pissarro's roughly where we are now and they're just getting on with their work. He's just depicting daily life as it was and you know, I'm not saying it's a rural idyll, but there is some quality in this painting that that we're seeking to get back to today; a connection with the land, growing our own fruit and vegetables, touching nature, living healthier lives. There's a whole fusion of things that brought art science and nature together at that time and the impressionist artists picked up on that. But how did botany impact on it; I think that it just gave us things that were new and anything that's new causes a buzz!