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  • 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!

They're not strictly cityscape painters

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印象派--"在空氣中 (Impressionism - 'en plein air')

  • 160 8
    Jeng-Lan Lee 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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