I only had a very quick whizz around the ‘Forests, Rocks, Torrents’ exhibition at the National Gallery, an intimate show of Norwegian and Swiss Landscapes from the Lunde Collection. It is a serene room of misty and evocative paintings, exploring the vital role that landscape painting played in European culture 150 years ago.
Swiss and Norwegian artists are completely unknown to me, I couldn’t name one... apart from Klee... isn’t he Swiss? Turns out they are rather talented, well at least the few showcased in this exhibition are. In particular I discovered and liked the work of Alexandre Calame (1810-64) known as the father of the Swiss tradition and Thomas Fearnley (1802-42) student of Christian Dahl, the apparent ‘inventor’ of Norwegian landscape. Both produced wonderfully naturalistic and atmospheric paintings, many of which are on display here.
Though the paintings are beautiful and in pristine condition, it was a shame to see many framed in such clumsy heavy and often unattractive frames, quite a distraction from the quality of work. The works shown are exemplars of the Romantic, I couldn’t help imagining the characters of Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights amongst the wild forests and gushing rivers. I often find I am dissatisfied viewing just landscapes but this show was unique and exciting.
I must take this opportunity to apologise to the poor man I asked to direct me – I was wrongly told (via text) to go to the Sublet room, and when the usher looked confused I scolded him for not knowing his place of work properly, turns out I was needing the Sunley room, which despite my rudeness he directed me to kindly after discovering the phone error, sorry.
Visit National Gallery website here.