Aug. 28 Art Minute: Richard Parkes Bonington, Normandy Landscape Near Lillebonne

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Richard Parkes Bonington (British, 1802–1828), Normandy Landscape Near Lillebonne. Oil on canvas, 1823. 11 ¾ in. by 18 ½ in. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1983.8. Gallery 31

Richard Parkes Bonington (British, 1802–1828), Normandy Landscape Near Lillebonne. Oil on canvas, 1823. 11 ¾ in. by 18 ½ in. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1983.8. Gallery 31

Evoking a scene of pastoral serenity, Richard Parkes Bonington depicted a picturesque view in the north of France, complete with cattle, peasants, trees, cottages, and a church steeple. The gently rolling hills of the background fade into a vast, limitless sky and a misty hint of the English Channel. Although Bonington suffered an untimely death from tuberculosis at just 25 years old, his impact was strongly felt on British art, along with that of his fellow English landscape artists John Constable and J.M.W. Turner, whose work you can also see in the Museum’s collection.

Painter Eugene Delacroix (1798–1863) said of him, “To my mind, one can find in other modern artists qualities of strength and of precision in rendering that are superior to those in Bonington’s pictures, but no one in this modern school, and perhaps even before, has processed that lightness of touch which, especially in watercolors, makes his work a type of diamond which flatters and ravishes the eye, independently of any subject and any imitation.”


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