A Dialogue with Nature: Romantic Landscapes from Britain and Germany


Drawing and illustration

Courtauld Institute

Until Sun Apr 27

  • Carl Philipp Fohr

    'The Ruins of Hohenbaden', 1814-15. © The Morgan Library & Museum

    Carl Philipp Fohr
  • Caspar David Friedrich

    'Moonlit landscape' c1808, © The Morgan Library & Museum

    Caspar David Friedrich
  • John Robert Cozens

    'A ruined fort near Salerno' c1782, © The Courtauld Gallery

    John Robert Cozens
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner

    'On Lake Lucerne, looking towards Fluelen' 1841, © The Courtauld Gallery

    Joseph Mallord William Turner
  • Karl Friedrich Lessing

    'Landscape with a cemetery and a church' 1837, © The Morgan Library & Museum

    Karl Friedrich Lessing
  • Samuel Palmer

    'The Haunted Stream' c1826, © The Morgan Library & Museum

    Samuel Palmer

Carl Philipp Fohr

'The Ruins of Hohenbaden', 1814-15. © The Morgan Library & Museum

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Curated London

While it’s good that these rarely-seen works get an airing, they would sit better as part of the gallery’s regular display, rather than as a stand-alone exhibition. On show are some of the Courtauld’s collection of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century drawings, watercolours and oil sketches. This period represents a crucial point in the development of landscape art, where the prevalence of artists working from their imagination in studios was being challenged by artists working directly from nature in the field.

The standout works are by Turner, while the German end is held up by a couple of pieces by Caspar David Friedrich. There are also some lovely cloud studies by Constable and the German artist Johann Georg von Dillis. They were among the first artists to study nature so closely outside. This new approach was part of the Romantic conception of nature as ‘sublime’, meaning awe-inspiring or terrifying. This attitude toward the natural world feels just as relevant relevant today with our increasingly extreme weather. 

For more art in plain English, check out http://www.curatedlondon.co.uk

Derek Jones

Friedrich's stylized picture evokes a wonderful calm and ethereal atmosphere making you feel that you are really there observing the scene as if you were the figure in the picture, your eyes drawn ineluctably to the landscape scene so beautifully featured in the moonlight. A magnificent example of his painting.