BRITISH VISION OBSERVATION AND IMAGINATION IN BRITISH ART 1750-1950
'British Vision' is an overview of two centuries of British art, representing every major artist, including William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough, George Stubbs, William Blake, John Constable, Joseph Mallord William Turner, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, Stanley Spencer, Graham Sutherland, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud.
The exhibition brings together over three hundred works of art from public and private collections throughout Britain, in addition to loans from major collections in Europe and the United States of America.
The selection contains oil paintings, watercolours, prints, drawings, sculpture, books and photographs. These works illustrate two important features typical of British art from the mid-18th to the mid-20th century: a real talent for observing daily reality and landscape on the one hand, and a fascination with the visionary on the other hand.
'British Vision' celebrates the reopening of the Ghent Museum of Fine Arts following its renovation. It is taking place exactly ten years after the 'Paris-Brussels/Brussels-Paris' exhibition, organised by the Ghent Museum in 1997 in collaboration with the Musée d'Orsay. 'British Vision' will certainly be as significant as the hugely successful 1997 exhibition.
Presented in the newly restored exhibition halls of the Museum of Fine Arts, this landmark exhibition is a long awaited opportunity for the European public to discover British art. As a general survey, it includes some of the greatest and most iconic works in British art history. Offering fresh perspectives on British art and a strong focus, it will also be of interest to those already familiar with the subject.
The exhibition has been devised by Robert Hoozee, Director of the Ghent Museum, who was advised by the British art historians John Gage, Timothy Hyman and Andrew Dempsey.
Landscape is one of the principle genres of Western art. In early paintings the landscape was a backdrop for the composition, but in the late 17th Century the appreciation of nature for its own sake began with the French and Dutch painters (from whom the term derived). Their treatment of the landscape differed: the French tried to evoke the classical landscape of ancient Greece and Rome in a highly stylised and artificial manner; the Dutch tried to paint the surrounding fields, woods and plains in a more realistic way. As a genre, landscape grew increasing popular, and by the 19th Century had moved away from a classical rendition to a more realistic view of the natural world. Two of the greatest British landscape artists of that time were John Constable and JMW Turner, whose works can be seen in the Tate collection (www.tate.org.uk). There can be no doubt that the evolution of landscape painting played a decisive role in the development of Modernism, culminating in the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists . Since then its demise has often been predicted and with the rise of abstraction, landscape painting was thought to have degenerated into an amateur pursuit. However, landscape persisted in some form into high abstraction, and has been a recurrent a theme in most of the significant tendencies of the 20th Century. Now manifest in many media, landscape no longer addresses solely the depiction of topography, but encompasses issues of social, environmental and political concern.
A medium in which ground pigments are mixed to produce a paste or liquid that can be applied to a surface by a brush or other tool; the most common oil used by artists is linseed, this can be thinned with turpentine spirit to produce a thinner and more fluid paint. The oil dries with a hard film, and the brightness of the colour is protected. Oil paints are usually opaque and traditionally used on canvas.
A three-dimensional work of art. Such works may be carved, modelled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, relief, and made in a huge variety of media. Contemporary practice also includes live elements, as in Gilbert & George 'Living Sculpture' as well as broadcast work, radio or sound sculpture.
Belgium, Ghent, Museum Voor Schone Kunsten
- 06 October 2007 − 13 January 2008