Western Art – the Heidelberg School of Painting – Australian

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Heidelberg School – The Concept
The Heidelberg School of Painting was the first major artistic movement in Australia dominant during the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. Impressionist in style, the genre made a remarkable impact on the overall Australian Art history, landscape & countryside painting in particular.

The History
The Heidelberg School originated in July 1891, with the art critic Sidney Dickinson's (US, 1890-1980) review of the works by Arthur Streeton (Australian, 1867-1943) and Walter Withers (Australian, 1854-1914). Sidney observed that the artists painting in the Heidelberg area were inspired by its landscapes and the impact of natural light on them. Since then, The Heidelberg School introduced the Australian artists of the late nineteenth century, painting in the Impressionist Plein-Air style. Apart from their grandeur as compositions, these works form an integral part of Australia's creative record. The Heidelberg School began to slowly dissolve in the 1890s.

The Details
The Heidelberg School introduced French Impressionist Plein-Airism to Australia. The paintings of this School initially honored the Australian landscapes. The students would stay together in the summer months in Heidelberg, to paint. Based on European art fundamentals, these Plein Air paintings depicted the colorful Australian landscapes. Right from domestic themes to urban arrangements, the Heidelberg artists painted all. The students were very heavily devoted towards Landscape Art. They were interested in producing Contemporary Impressionism to more accurately demonstrate the Australian environment than that done in the previous works through the Australian history. The artists were intrigued with the spontaneous lighting effects, resulting in their experiment with different brushstroke styles and techniques.

The Artists
The Heidelberg School included artists Arthur Streeton (1867-1943), Tom Roberts (1856-1931), Frederick McCubbin (1855-1917), Walter Withers (1854-1914), Jane Sutherland (1853-1928), Clara Southern 1940), Aby Altson (1864-1949), Charles Douglas Richardson (1853-1942), Artu Loureiro (1853-1932), and Charles Conder (1868-1909).

The Artworks
'Macedon Ranges' (1874) by Louis Buvelot; 'The Letter' (1884) & 'Pioneer' (1904) by Frederick McCubbin; 'A Quiet Day on Darebin Creek' (1885) by Tom Roberts; 'A Holiday at Mentone' (1888) by Charles Conder; 'Shearing the Rams' (1888-90) by Tom Roberts; 'Golden Summer, Eaglemont' (1889) by Arthur Streeton; 'The Storm' (1896) by Walter Withers; and 'An Old Bee Farm' (1900) by Clara Southern, are some of the competent pieces of The Heidelberg School. Several artworks are also displayed at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, the National Gallery of Australia, Parkes, Australian Capital Territory, and the Ballart Fine Art Gallery, Ballart.

The Heidelberg School artworks are unduly the first Western Art stunners to realistically represent each unit of a landscape, including the sun, earthy colors, and the vegetation. The Heidelberg School is an important chapter of the Australian Art history, for its immense contribution in towing up the cultural front of the nation through literature and art – a face the world gladly accepted, respected, and cherished.

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Source by Annette Labedzki

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