WMR review of Landseer exhibition
|Topic||WMR review of Landseer exhibition|
74 January 10 Academy
Sir Edwin Landseer exhibition.
Rossetti, William M. "The Sir Edwin Landseer Exhibition at Burlington House." Academy (January 10, 1874): 45. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.
This essay picks up where the previous essay (Rossetti, W.M., Postscript, Academy, January 3, 1874) leaves off by describing the exhibit as well as the work of Sir Edwin Landseer, particularly his unique ability (in Rossetti's eyes) to paint animal subjects.
The exhibit is designed, according to Rossetti, to allow the viewer a chronological tour of the artist's life, from boyhood through renown as an accomplished artist.
In Rossetti's words, Sir Edwin Landseer's work is "enshrined" in this exhibition which was a high honor never previously accorded a contemporary painter (see the January 3 notice referenced above). Rossetti compares Sir Edwin Landseer with other contemporaries in order to describe the artist's relative stature among painters, but also among the great men of his time. For example "the position of Sir Edwin Landseer in art was something like Lord Palmerston in politics . . . "
In "brute art," there was no equal to Sir Edwin Landseer, according to Rossetti, for capturing the natural life and movement of animals; he was "truly a great painter of animal life, a master of the vitality and motion, the expression and excitement, the comedy and the tragedy, the pathos and beauty, of his subject matter."
Rossetti describes a low point in Sir Edwin Landseer's career which resulted in less than authentic artistic portrayals in order to satisfy the preferences of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert ("when frippery had to be painted for sovereign patronage"), for whom he produced many specifically directed works.
Rossetti states that the effects of the rising Pre-Raphaelite movement were evident in Sir Edwin Landseer's work in the 1850s, stating that the movement influenced many of the old practitioners in a positive way:
This was one of the years when the rising "Pre-Raphaelite" school of painters was compelling all sorts of old practitioners to work with greater stress of faculty of study, or else to be left behind in the race of art . . .
Standards of Judgment:
". . . we read his canvases like books . . ." "he was a genius . . ." ". . . painted with eyes of more than human significance . . ." ". . . sturdiness and ingenuity went hand in hand in his performances . . ." "In the Sir Edwin Landseer Exhibition at the Burlington House we can study the progress of our master's style from first to last."