Selected works from J.M.W. Turner and Caspar David Friedrich visualize the Romantics’ transformation of landscape painting into an intensely personal, and highly spiritual, art form.
“A Dialogue with Nature: Romantic Landscapes from Britain and Germany” opens January 30 at theCourtauld Gallery in London. This exhibition of 26 major drawings, watercolors, and oil sketches from important Romantic artists will remain on view through April 27.
Carl Philipp Fohr, “The Ruins of Hohenbaden,” 1814-15, watercolor on paper, 7 11/16 x 8 11/16 in. The Morgan Library and Museum
“A Dialogue with Nature” features several of the most prominent figures in Romantic landscape painting, including Britain’s J.M.W. Turner and Samuel Palmer, as well as German Romantics Caspar David Friedrich, Carl Philipp Fohr, and Karl Friedrich Lessing.
In the first half of the 19th century the Romantics lifted and transformed landscape painting into a valued genre for artistic expression. In the hands of the British and German Romantics, the natural landscape became a site for communicating emotional and spiritual power.
Caspar David Friedrich, “Moonlit Landscape,” ca. 1808, watercolor on paper, 9 1/8 x 14 3/8 in. The Morgan Library and Museum
This exhibition’s title references a statement made by Caspar David Friedrich, who described his conception of landscape art as “a dialogue with nature.” This highly personal conception of art-making gives a prominent place to the artist’s unique vision of the natural landscape. Friedrich and the Romantics believed that painters best expressed themselves and the landscape when rendering the physical aspects of nature as filtered through each artist’s own sensibility. The watercolors, oil sketches, and drawings that make up the exhibition manifest the Romantics’ intimate connection with nature, as well as their desire to create a personal and sincere art form.
Samuel Palmer, “The Haunted Stream,” ca. 1826, pen and brown ink, brown wash, over traces of pencil, 3 5/8 x 4 13/16 in. The Morgan Library and Museum
“A Dialogue with Nature” is the result of a collaboration between the Courtauld Gallery and the Morgan Library and Museum in New York. To learn more, visit the Courtauld Gallery online.