What to our ancestors would have been blurred and defective images are now accepted as depicting motion. How our perception has changed, thanks to photography.
The mental images which we perceive are created in the brain, which has some fixed ideas about how to do that. They’re not the same as optical laws used in cameras and related devices.
Exposure to colour was, for centuries, determined by class. The poor lived in largely drab worlds, but the rich surrounded themselves with vivid hues. This all changed in the late 19th century and the 20th.
The Norwegian landscape painter who loved his fjords invites Munch to Berlin, and causes a furore. It makes Munch’s career, and changes the history of art.
Strange coincidences build a chain of events. From the Baltic German who painted the coast, to a Norwegian who sold paintings of Norwegian fjords in Germany.
The world looks very different now, compared with the past. This explores differences in lighting, from candlepower to the excesses seen in modern cities, and their effects on painting.
Painted long after the death of history painting, this shows Botticelli being introduced to the most beautiful woman in northern Italy, in about 1475. Each face is true to life.
Including superb paintings by Zorn, Marie Spartali Stillman, Boldini, van Gogh, Cézanne, Sargent, Demuth, and Signac.
From Richard Parkes Bonington, through AW Hunt, John Brett, Edward Poynter, Delacroix, Rosa Bonheur, Daumier, Gustave Moreau, and Winslow Homer.
This takes us from Samuel Palmer and Peter De Wint, through Girtin and Cotman, to JMW Turner and William Blake.