BALTIMORE.- Majestic settings of the English countryside have inspired writers and artists from the poetry of William Wordsworth to the paintings of J.M.W. Turner. This fall, the BMA focuses on the transforming British landscape in Taking in the View: English Watercolors and Prints. On view August 27 to December 7, 2008, this onegallery exhibition features an array of more than 20 prints, watercolors, and books drawn from the Museums collection.
The exhibition highlights one of the Museums masterpieces, J.M.W. Turners Grenoble Bridge, a watercolor that was purchased in 1968 and has rarely been shown due to its fragility. In addition, several recent acquisitions are on view for the first time, including watercolors by professional animalier Robert Hills, amateur artist and surgeon John White Abbott, and Victorian artist Louise Rayner.
In mid 18thcentury Britain, landscape painting fell into two categories: views of specific topography and fictional visions of idealized landscapes. Over the course of the next 100 years, these two concepts merged, and in watercolor painting in particular, images of the landscape were brought to unprecedented heights of beauty and expressive power. This transformation of the idea of nature as the ideal expression of the human spirit existed not only in art, but also extended to philosophy and literature.