True to Nature: Open-air Painting in Europe 1780-1870
Ger Luijten, Mary Morton, Jane Munro
The Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge & Paul Holberton Publishing, 2021
At the end of the eighteenth century, the tradition of plein air painting gained considerable popularity in Rome. Artists came from all over Europe to study classical sculpture, architecture, and masterpieces of the Renaissance and the Baroque. During their studies, groups of young artists set their eyes on the Italian countryside, training their hands to transcribe the effects of light. The practice soon spread throughout Europe and eventually became an essential aspect of art education and a basic skill of landscape painting.
This lavish volume contains 140 color reproductions of sketches made en plein air between 1780 and 1870, demonstrating the skill and ingenuity with which each artist captures, with speed and on the spot, the effects of light and atmosphere. The works in Painting from Nature, most of them unfamiliar to the general public, convey the immediacy of nature in art and cast a fresh eye on the previously overlooked tradition of plein air painting.