Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Hill And Dale by Mark Fisher RA

This is a painting of great interest from more than one point of view. First of all a word may be said of Mark Fisher who was born in Boston USA in 1841 of English and Irish parentage. Trained in the Lowell Institute he went to Paris in 1841 and worked at Gleyre's studio.
Settling in England he became ARA in 1911 and was elected RA in 1919. Awarded medals at Paris, Chicago and St Louis , his work was exhibited in Johannesburg, Adelaide and Perth. He died in 1923.
Hill and Dale is a vivid transcription of landscape and one might say its a lively picture. It is not in any sense a sentimentalised landscape. The noble trees are faithfully full drawn and painted. They are not trimmed, idealised or made to look 'pretty'.
The effect of the work depends upon a faithful rendering of light and the artist as undoubtedly influenced by the French Impressionist School. It is not unlike an early Corot.
An interesting and important feature of this painting is the skilful manner in which so much colour has been introduced into the shadows without in any way impairing the sense of depth and atmosphere of sunlight which characterise the picture as a whole.
Here of course, we see the protest urged by the Impressionist against the conventional 'brown shadow'. God not only made light but He made shadow luminous. Turner grasped this principle and produced beautiful demonstrations in luminous shadow. So then, this picture is essentially an effort, a highly successful one, to represent shadow in open air sunlight.

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