Constable, Turner, Gainsborough and the Making of Landscape

According to traditional art history, before the mid-18th century the British simply couldn’t paint. The best artists at work on these shores were all foreign, from Holbein and Van Dyck to Orazio Gentileschi and Peter Lely. In this account, the first original native painter was Hogarth, and the first genre to be distinctively British was landscape painting. Even in this we were no better than we ought to be: landscape was a lowly genre, some way below the salt, while history painting with its moral and didactic qualities lorded it at the head of the table. As Sir Joshua Reynolds, the man who sought above all others to put British painting on a par with the rest of Europe, said: “A mere copier of nature can never produce anything great.”

Reynolds’s fiefdom, the Article source:

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