April 15, 2011
There will an attempt to compare and contrast the relationship between painting and photography in Europe and America from about 1840 to 1870. The relationship will be between photographic verisimilitude and plein-aire painting. Painting and photography are two of the most popular art forms that supply artists with an outlet to express and give art viewers different ways of seeing the world. However, while both painting and photography can produce excellent images, the development of making and the action of seeing the two mediums are very different. Plein-aire paintings expression means in the open air, and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors. However, photographic verisimilitude is relating to, used in, or produced by photography and the appearance of being true or real; but not supported by evidence. Artists have always painted outdoors, but in the 19th century the use of natural light became more important to the Barbizon school and Impressionism. The popularity of painting en plein-aire increased in the 1870s with the introduction of paints in cylinder tubes. Before that, each painter produced their own paints by crushing and combining dry pigment powders with linseed oil. Two very good examples of plein-aire artwork are The Leaping Horse and Idle Hours. In the painting, The Leaping Horse by John Constable shows a barge horse attempting to jump over an apparatus used to control the feeding of cattle on the path beside a river. The arrangement and the use of color provide the viewer with a great knowledge of nature. The details of this painting influence the viewer’s experience. As the viewer, it is almost possible to hear the call and flapping wings of a startled medium-sized water bird with black feathers and a red beak in the lower right corner of the painting. In Idle Hours by William Merritt Chase shows two women and one of them is in...