Sunday, December 9, 2007

Grimshaw's Summer

So, the piece I've really been obsessing over this semester is Summer, a painting by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893). I had never heard of Grimshaw before this semester, and for good reason. He's more or less a provincial painter from Leeds, but in 1875 he did this interesting series of four paintings, including Summer at his house, Knostrop Hall, on the outskirts of Leeds.


In the Pleasaunce


Il Penseroso

They all depict a single female figure, they all show the cultivation of nature, and they all include at least one Japanese object as well as some sort of historical detail. I'm actually writing about Summer for two seminars, much to the chagrin on my professors. The first seminar is on Taste and the other is on Art & Empire, and between the two they would seem to cover all the interesting bits about these works. By the time I'm done I'll have written 40 pages on this image and still not have said it all. An art historian's work is never done . . .

1 comment:

Jack said...

I can see why you like "Summer" -- it's a great painting. It actually reminds me a lot of those 17th century Dutch paintings by Vermeer and those guys that are full of significant household objects. A very different tonality, of course, but a similar sort of feeling -- a similar window into another world.