|Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood|
by John Singer Sargent (1885).
Europeans and Americans were in the throes of unprecedented change and undergoing a technological point of inflection (industrial revolution). The primary draw to painting in the open air was perhaps a recognition of the need to engage with ― and reconnect to ― the natural environment.
"For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life, the air and the light, which vary continually for me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere that gives subjects their true value."Clouds in paintings by John Constable paintings were declared remarkably true to life. Scientists believed they could derive the season, or even the hour of the day from the skies depicted in Constable's paintings.
― Claude Monet
|Cloud Study by John Constable (1821)|
"I am working very hard, struggling with a series of different effects (haystacks), but at this season the sun sets so fast I cannot follow it. . . . The more I continue, the more I see that a great deal of work is necessary in order to succeed in rendering what I seek."
|Haystacks (1890-1891) by Claude Monet|
A glimmer of light cannot truly be seen without much that is dark, and darkness cannot truly be felt without shadowy forms rising from the blackness.
- En Plein Air, Wikipedia.
- Environmental Art, Wikipedia.
- Haystacks (Monet), Wikipedia.
- Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- Plein Air: Painting the American Landscape, PBS.
- The 10 best... skies in art, by Laura Cumming, The Observer, 10 March 2012.