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George Inness and the Visionary Landscape
by Adrienne Baxter Bell ; George Inness ; National Academy of Design (U S)
Binding: Paperback, 1 edition, 174 pages
Publisher: National Academy of Design
Weight: 0 pound
ISBN 10: 1887149139
ISBN 13: 9781887149136
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Book Description:
The landscape painter George Inness (1825 1894) was one of the foremost American artists of his generation. Born in Newburgh, New York, Inness studied the works of the old masters and, as a young man, painted in the reigning style of the Hudson River School. Within a few years, however, he found himself more attuned to the gestural, expressive approach of the Barbizon School. He greatly admired the free handling of paint and the expression of soulfulness in the works of Theodore Rousseau. Equally important were Inness's philosophical and spiritual concerns. Along with contemporaries Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Walt Whitman, Inness studied the writings of the Swedish scientist turned mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688 1772). During a trip to Italy in the early 1870s, Inness began to structure his landscapes around geometric forms, a development that may have reflected the Swedenborgian idea that the natural world corresponds to the spiritual world and that geometric forms possess spiritual identities. Through these and other compositional devices, Inness created paintings to inspire an almost 'religious experience' in his viewers. George Inness and the Visionary Landscape includes forty color reproductions of Inness's most important paintings and presents both a chronological overview of Inness's life and a more focused treatment of the artist's main philosophical and religious preoccupations. It suggests resonances between Inness's visionary landscapes and the concurrent efforts, on the part of the psychologist/philosopher William James (1842 1910), to validate the existence of mystical states of mind. It shows Inness to have anticipated many of the most important tenets of modernism, an achievement that continues to inspire contemporary audiences. 40 illustrations in color, 12 in black and white.

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