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True to Nature Open-Air Painting in Europe 1780-1870

Camille-Corot

Honestly the name implies a bit stodginess and doesn’t have the popping vibe that we expect to see these days. Despite the exhibit’s name having a lack of sizzle it is well worth it to just go to experience this exhibit. I went to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and I was transformed into another person’s experience. I became the artist who slipped away one afternoon to go and paint. Yes, this exhibit is pure escapism. And, quite frankly, I needed to escape on a Friday afternoon. Politics have gone awry, now courts do not need witnesses and material evidence, only had three hours of sleep last night, and the weather is just gloomy.

CLOUDS SO MANY CLOUDS IN SKY

The first series of paintings that really took me away were the clouds. There were so many of them. And each painting invites you to lie down on the grassy summary hill and just look up. Namaste has been reached at the National Gallery of Art!

True to Nature Open-Air Painting in Europe 1780-1870

Cloud Study: Story Sunset by John Constable from National Gallery of Art

True to Nature Open-Air Painting in Europe 1780-1870

Cloud Study (1,2,3,4) by Johann Jakob Frey from the National Gallery of Art

RUINS

Then there were the paintings of the old quirky ruins. They just pull you into the space that is silent, cool, and just being. You begin to wonder how long this building has been here. And, then the questions come, and you image the life that was here before the building became a ruin.

True to Nature Open-Air Painting in Europe 1780-1870

The Monastery of Alpirsbach near Freudenstadt by Frederick Sodring from the National Gallery of Art

Trees and Roots

There are also a lot of paintings of the proverbial tree with roots. Which honestly every artist that I have know always does a study of a tree with the roots. You would think that the paintings would be boring, but somehow the artist found the most interesting tree in the forest. And, then you are captured and brought to the moments where the artist was sitting to create this one delightful tree. And, you can just image a sunbeam reaching through the forest canopy and hitting your head. You have found relaxation – and you can achieve wonderful things.

True to Nature Open-Air Painting in Europe 1780-1870

The Oak and the Reed by Achille-Etna Michallon from the National Gallery of Art

True to Nature Open-Air Painting in Europe 1780-1870

Forest Interior with a Waterfall, Papigno by Andre Giroux from the National Gallery of Art

Caves and Grottos

The next captivating series is the cave or grotto. I really was taken away into a secret world where nobody could find me. This is where I would go if I really needed to spend time away from the world with just myself, me, and I. These paintings are just lovely with how they show you the different shades, sunlight, plants, and rocks. I wish I had 10 acres with my own secret cave to get away from the cell phone, emails, and silly questions that I get every day.

True to Nature Open-Air Painting in Europe 1780-1870

Grotto in a Rocky Landscape by Louise-Josephine Sarazin de Belmont from National Gallery of Art

True to Nature Open-Air Painting in Europe 1780-1870

Hunter in a Grotto in Cervara by Martinus Rorbye from National Gallery of Art

Vacay Time

And, the last series of paintings that really resonated with me was the seaside paintings. Only because I have a partial spot for warm waters, ocean breezes, and light reflecting off water. My favorite one is the castle surrounded by water. I am just imagining having my morning coffee on a terrace overlooking this shallow water. And, of course you can’t go wrong with a painting of rocks on the beach with the tide coming in.

True to Nature Open-Air Painting in Europe 1780-1870

View of Capri by Vilhelm Kyrs from National Gallery of Art

For more information about this exhibit go to National Gallery of Art website.

Adventures for Creative Tourists is not affiliated with the National Gallery of Art. We offer art museum tours at the National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, and U Street Murals Tour.