“Les Vessenots” in Auvers, by Vincent Van Gogh, 1890, oil, 55 cm x 65 cm. Collection the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain

An exhibition of plein air masterpieces is currently on view in Madrid, Spain. The works by Constable, Turner, Corot, and Van Gogh are included in the permanent collection, so you’ll want to visit the museum whenever you get to Madrid.

The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, Spain, just presented an exhibition of plein air masterpieces. The principal aim of the show was to offer an analysis of the practice of painting outdoors as a factor in the transformation and modernization of 19th-century art. In general, this practice is associated with Impressionism. In fact, although Monet, Renoir, Sisley, and Pissarro first started to exhibit their works in the photographer Nadar’s studio in 1874, plein air painting had already existed for nearly a century, and studies painted outdoors were a key part of a landscape painter’s training from the late 18th century onwards. They subsequently became a fundamental element within naturalism, and their importance as a modernizing factor within painting lasted until the end of the 19th century.

“Solitude. Recollection of Vigen, Limousin,” by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, 1866, oil, 95 cm x 130 cm. Collection Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain

The exhibition brought together around 100 works spanning 1780-1900, starting with work by some of the founders of plein air landscape painting, such as Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes and Thomas Jones, and continued through the work of such artists as Turner, Constable, Corot, Rousseau, Courbet, Daubigny, and all the great figures of Impressionism, concluding at the end of the century with Van Gogh and Cézanne, among many other key names. The exhibition was curated by Juan Ángel López, Curator of the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. For more information, visit http://www.museothyssen.org/en/thyssen/exposiciones_proximas/90.


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