Friday, 23 July 2010

Fred Inglis on the value of the landscape painting

Thanks to David Roberts in Leicester for writing and alerting me to an article Off Piste: Pride of place by Professor Fred Inglis in the Times Higher Education Supplement

It focuses on why people like pictures of places they know and like.  Two quotes stood out for me
All over the geography of tourism, we find little stalls selling watercolours, linocuts, miniature acrylics and rough crayon sketches of the local beauty spots. In the hotel rooms of the tourist capitals, there will be luridly awful prints of flowery parks, flowery copses, flowery clifftop walks. This affecting testimony to a universal desire to discover on one's vacation the lost complicity of humankind with natural beauty provides the energy behind the mass production and reproduction of land-and-sea-and-townscape paintings.
Back in 1809, a close painter friend wrote to that most firm and emulable of water-colourists, John Sell Cotman, that "every artist must, to a certain degree, obey his master, the public ... Two thirds of mankind, you know, mind more what is represented than how it is done."
It gives one pause for thought.......

Note: Fred Inglis is honorary professor of cultural history, University of Warwick.

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