Throughout history the unique and changeable Australian landscape has inspired a diverse array of artistic responses. Impressios of its power and beauty, expressions of individuals' responses, symbolic religious orientation, the range of landscape art works extends onwards. A great example of the vast variations of styles can be seen in the artworks of Glover, Drysdale, Berkowitz and Reid.
Constitution Hill at sunset
Van Dieman's Land, from near Mrs Ranson's Public House, June 29th 1840. Oil on canvas, 76.8 × 114.9 cm. H31203. La Trobe Picture Collection. John Glover, artist. Birth: 18 February 1767, Houghton-on-the-Hill, Leicestershire, England Death: 9 December 1849, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), Australia. "He accepts the emptiness that dominates the Australian bush, and this was a huge change from Lorrain," Hansen says. "He was the first great Australian painter of emptiness, a theme that obsesses painters to this day." (www.theage.com.au/articles.)
John Glover was an early colonialist painter and was one of the pioneers of an Australian landscape painting. He was an acclaimed landscape painter in England and France, however he was never seen as an artist who 'pushed the boundaries'. This changed when he moved to Tasmania in 1831, age 64. He saw the Australia landscape with new eyes and was keen to become the next 'English Claude'. Thus many have dubbed him ‘The father of Australian landscape painting’. The impressionistic painting “Constitutional Hill at sunset” is perhaps one of Glover most renowned. While he was initially criticised for not paying close enough attention to the 'local characteristics', he did find an individuality in his work through the landscape and atmosphere of Tasmania. His depiction of the Tasmanian light is bright and clear and his gum trees are very convincing, with their stalky form and sparse and scraggly foliage. However the strong influence of romantic artists Claude Lorraine and Gaspard Poussin lingers...
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