Thursday, February 1, 2018

Romantic

Caspar David Friedrich
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818
I'm a Romantic. Not that I treat my wife to a candle lit dinner every week (she'd probably think I went mad), but I can relate to the ideas about nature of the Romantic era. It lasted from (give or take) 1800 to 1850. A true Romantic sees nature as a source of very intense and sometimes even religious experiences. The genre to best express that feeling is of course landscape. One of the most important Romantic landscape artists is the German Caspar David Friedrich. In some of his paintings he places a lonely pedestrian facing the overpowering presence of nature. In his 'Wanderer' this figure is still quite dominant, but in other paintings (of different of artists as well) it shrinks to a tiny dot in the vast landscape.

My hometown museum hosts an exhibition entitled 'Romanticism in the North'. In this case 'the North' means the north of Europe. Went to see it last week and came home with mixed feelings. On the one hand I saw some totally over the top paintings (some of them even poorly painted), on the other hand I was stunned by a few large size renderings of nature & drama, like the one I'm looking at in the picture. It's a shipwreck drama bij Wijnand Nuijen, a Dutch painter who was 23 when he painted it. He hardly outlived his masterpiece. Died at 26...

In the catalogue of the exhibition the figure-in-a-landscape theme is seen as symbolic for the deep longing to become one with nature and at the same time for the impossibility of fulfillment. Even though I'm a Romantic this yearning is strange to me. It's like wanting to be something you already are. We don't have to become one with nature, we are nature.

I just finished a painting that I think is definitely Romantic. It's called 'Before the Storm'. Not a human being in sight...
It will be the subject of my next tutorial. We're in the process of editing the vast amount of footage and that'll take a while. Hope to release it this coming May. I'll keep you posted.


Before the Storm, oil on panel, 27.6 x 47.2"





4 comments:

  1. Interesting post, made even more interesting by the the news you are going to release it as a tutorial, already looking forward to May! I'm sure it will be as good and informative as your previous ones.

    Alan Evans






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  2. Glad to hear you're looking forward to my next tutorial. It's a rather slow process. We finished shooting. Writing and recording the voice over comes next. The last step is composing the music. That will be done by the same musician who composed the score for my previous turorial on painting Reflections. His name is Udo Pannekeet and he's one of the best bass players in Holland. Very proud he agreed to do it a second time.

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  3. Amazing blog if anyone looking for great and valuable tips then this blog is really awesome.

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  4. Thank you, Cathy. That's really encouraging!

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