A Dialogue with Nature at the Courtauld Gallery


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Landscape with Cemetery and Church, 1837, Karl Frederich Lessing Landscape with Cemetery and Church, 1837, Karl Frederich Lessing

The cultural taste-setters and collectors who set sail from Britain in the C18 and C19 were travelling for the most part to France and Italy. Paris, Venice and most of all Rome were seen as the source of great art and architecture and it was pictures, sculptures and ideas based on classical ideals and fashioned in Italy and France that were brought back to the UK to fill the great country houses that were built by an increasingly confident and affluent British aristocracy. Germany did not feature on most people’s Grand Tour. It was not seen as a source of artistic inspiration and there was a prejudice against German art which has persisted down to modern times. The British were quite comfortable to import their monarchy from Germany, but not their art.

As a result, even today, German art is poorly…

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