White Ice and Black Ice, by Anya Gallaccio (born 1963)

White Ice

White Ice

Black Ice
Black Ice
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 The screenprint and etching by Anya Gallaccio were inspired by blocks of melting ice. The contrast between the pure, sparkly white ice and the sooty black ice remind us of the effects of human activity on climate change. Even in Ruskin’s day the effects of pollution in modern cities was much maligned for destroying natural beauty. He described Manchester’s ‘devil darkness’ and ‘foul fog’ at the time.  Of course, the city is far cleaner today, but our activities are still damaging the environment despite  increased awareness. Are you worried about your own carbon footprint?
 
 
 
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Etudes sur les Glaciers, by Louis Agassiz (1807-1873)

Neuchatel: Jent et Grassman 1840

Partie Moyenne

Neuchatel: Jent et Grassman 1840

Flanc de l'extremite inferieure

 

 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 These strange landscapes remind me of the fantasy drawings of alien planets in my cousin’s ‘Boys Own Annuals’ from the 1960s. The glacier depicted in these two prints is at Zermatt, Switzerland and is now melting due to climate change.
 
 
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Ice River, by William Stott of Oldham (1857-1900)

Ice River

Ice River

John Ruskin had a great passion for the ‘doom and gloom’ of mountain scenery. Stott’s moody river of ice carving through the dark slopes of Jungfrau was undoubtedly influenced by Ruskin’s encouragement for artists of the time to visit Switzerland.

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Mer de Glace, Chamonix, France, by John Ruskin

Mer de Glace, Chamonix, France

Mer de Glace, Chamonix, France

Ruskin produced this painting in 1860, at the end of the ‘Little Ice Age’, when glaciers in the Alps were far more extensive than they are today. Mer de Glace is the longest glacier in France, but has retreated so much since this work was painted that it is no longer visible from Ruskin’s viewing point. I wonder how much the subject of this scene will change in the future?

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The Sailor’s Return, by Samuel Palmer (1805-1881)

The Sailor's Return

The Sailor's Return

‘Red sky at night, sailor’s delight’.  According to this old saying, the richly coloured sky in Palmer’s painting promises fair weather for these sailors and their families. Does anyone know the origin of the ‘red sky’ saying?

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In Memory of the ‘Painter of Light’

Moonlight on Lake Lucerne

Moonlight on Lake Lucerne

 Today marks the anniversary of Turner’s death on 19th December, 1851.  Over 20,000 works in his possession at the time, including oil paintings, watercolours and drawings, were bequeathed to the nation. He was not always appreciated by art critics during his life, but is now one of Britain’s most highly regarded sons. In memory of Turner I have chosen ‘Moonlight on Lake Lucerne’, my favourite piece from the Unstable States exhibition, as the image for my post today. Thank you, JMW, your light still shines brightly.

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Sunset on Wet Sand, by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)

Sunset on Wet Sand

Sunset on Wet Sand

John Ruskin greatly admired Turner’s treatment of clouds and commented that “other great men coloured clouds beautifully, none but he ever drew them truly”. What do you think of Turner’s sketchy, almost impressionist painting of sunlight reflected on wet sand?

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