Thursday, April 21, 2011

John Atkinson Grimshaw: a painter of the night

The Daily Mail ran a story recently about John Atkinson Grimshaw, a nineteenth century English painter.


His paintings appeal to me, perhaps because they express a poetic feeling for nature. He seems to have particularly mastered night time scenes:


Including urban scenes:



He left behind little in the way of letters or diaries so not much is known about his approach to life or art.

Quite of few of his paintings are of ships or of the docklands:



This is art which captures a heightened response to our surroundings. I can't help but prefer it to art which merely sets out to shock.

4 comments:

  1. "This is art which captures a heightened response to our surroundings. I can't help but prefer it to art which merely sets out to shock."

    Greatly agreed. The pictures are splendid. A blogger called "ThinkingHousewife" has plenty of posts on art and the message it transmits from a traditional conservative perspective.

    Here is her website --- www.thinkinghousewife.com/wp/

    I myself have made new guidelines concerning anything I read, watch or listen to.

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  2. Never heard of the guy, but his paintings are awesome.

    A couple of things stand out...

    The perspective is always from a means of travel, or the 'road' (literally in many cases it seems. There is no interaction between the artist and the subjects, and landscape is the primary mode of thinking. Suggests the artist feels removed from society, or somehow disconnected. Doing painting at night also suggests he was sensitive to light, maybe had lupus or somesuch. Which means he could have been in a sanitorium.

    But he captures emotion amazingly well. The fact that he does this with a LANDSCAPE of all things means this guy was a genius as far as I'm concerned.

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  3. Atkinson Grimshaw's evocative paintings are alleged to show no marks of handling or brushwork - perhaps suggesting that his working methods were curious or even suspect. He is known to have used photographs rather than paint direct from nature.

    His pictures of suburban lanes by moonlight are especially haunting, I think.

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