Turner to Monet exhibition – Canberra

Posted by jerry on March 29th, 2008 — Posted in Journal

The Turner to Monet exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra is visually sumptuous and well worth a visit.

The exhibition traces the rise of landscape painting from the late 18th to the late 19th centuries into impressionism and post-impressionism.

Monet waterlilies
Monet – Water Lilies – photo: Everard – Musee d’Orsay, Paris

The website is fantastic – if you skip the soap-commercial intro – and get to the Director’s introduction and views of the works themselves. I thought the days of the deep masculine voice-over and images of a young anglo woman stunned by the sublime works of art were long gone. That is not the way to sell an exhibition. The works are quite strong enough to stand as sufficient advert for the display.

Ok rant over – this exhibition is about how an inherited tradition was transformed by the plein air painters to show the landscape in new and dramatic ways – usually with some sense of humanity’s insignificance in the face of nature.

As the exhibition moves into the impressionists you can see how the play of light and colour made the paintings glow as though backlit on screen – it must have been at once amazing and shocking to the 19th century audience, and still has immense power today.

If you get the chance this is an exhibition well worth seeing


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