Forests, Rocks, Torrents: Norwegian and Swiss Landscapes
22 June – 18 September 2011
The works of Constable, Turner and other British landscape artists are a familiar part of our visual culture, but this exhibition of paintings from the Lunde Collection offers an opportunity to see less well-known works by some of their European counterparts.
The works of Constable, Turner and other British landscape artists are a familiar part of our visual culture, but this exhibition of paintings from the Lunde Collection offers an opportunity to see less well-known works by some of their European counterparts. Forests, Rocks, Torrents presents a rare chance to explore the Swiss and Norwegian landscape art that flourished in the early to mid-19th century.With more than 50 works from the private Lunde collection, most visiting the UK for the first time, the show sets the two national schools alongside one another, highlighting their shared tradition, but also their differences. Comprising both landscape oil sketches and finished paintings, it examines the development of artists such as Alexandre Calame, Johan Christian Dahl and Peder Balke.The differences between 19th-century Switzerland and Norway are obvious: the one a prosperous independent nation, the other an impoverished country under threat from its neighbours. Yet what the two countries shared was a natural landscape imbued with drama and spectacle.
The National Gallery acquired its first Norwegian picture " Peder Balke's The Tempest (c 1862) " last year. The exhibition shows four more works by Balke, who is revered as one of the most innovative Norwegian landscape painters of the 19th century. Among them is Seascape, a small work typical of the artist's rapidly executed monochrome paintings of stormy seas, where fluid brushstrokes convey the energy of pitching waves that pulverise boats.Alexandre Calame was the foremost Swiss landscape artist of his day, enjoying considerable success in Paris as well as at home. The grandeur and natural force of Cliffs of Seelisberg, Lake Lucerne reflect both his commitment to ideas of the divine presence in nature, and his awareness of the growing market for tourist images of Switzerland.Related storiesYouTube video gallery of the paintings of Peder BalkeA companion website to a touring exhibition of Nordic landscape art named The Mirror of Nature