Lake Lucerne by James Duffield Harding (1797-1863). Oil on paper laid on canvas, 24 1/2 x 28 inches; inscribed verso with title and artist's name.
Harding, who was Ruskin's drawing master and sketching companion, “had religious views in sympathy with his pupil”c (Collingwood, 8). Harding's theories on landscape painting, which were widely published, anticipated Ruskin's in fundamental ways: Harding believed in truth and variety of nature, as invented and ordered by God, and ythat painting landscape was a man-made language for the expression of the landscape. Direct observation was therefore the vocabulary, and a knowledge of other painters the grammar of painting. In this open-air sketch on paper, simply interpreting sky, mountains and water, Harding has used none of his usual compositional props of figures or architecture — not even a boat [Maas catalogue]
Catalogue. London: The Maas Gallery, 2010. Catalogue no. 22
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Collingwood, W.G. The Life of John Ruskin. London, 1900.
Landow, George P. "J. D. Harding and John Ruskin on Nature's Infinite Variety." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 28 (1970), 369--80.
Last modified 23 February 2012