Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Last Ruskinians at the Fogg Art Museum

This exhibition just opened to the general public this morning and I would highly recommend it. The watercolors were made in the second half of the 19th century and the early twentieth century. The artists in this exhibition, with the exception of one work by Turner, are not nearly as well known as Hopper, Sargent, and Homer, from the last watercolor exhibit at the Fogg . However, the very real looking works in this exhibit are highly aesthetically pleasing. John Ruskin, Herbert Moore, and Joseph Lydon Smith, have some wonderful depictions of nature, still lifes, as well as Italian and classical architecture.

A good museum should highlight the works of lesser known artists of merit as well as showing off the masters and those artists currently in vogue. Harvard's first professor of art history, Charles Eliot Norton, was a big fan of Ruskin's work and his followers. At a time when French art was becoming more daring, this was a more conservative school. Maybe history will be kinder to these artists than the 20th century was to them.


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