August 21, 2017
Asher Brown Durand (1796-1886), Landscape, 1866, oil on canvas, 15 1/4 x 25 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1964.
On this day in 1796, American artist Asher Brown Durand was born in New Jersey. Brown was a member of the Hudson River School movement. He painted and drew hundreds of landscape pieces in his lifetime, mostly of scenes in the Adirondacks. Durand wrote, “Let [the artist] scrupulously accept whatever [nature] presents him until he shall, in a degree, have become intimate with her infinity…never let him profane her sacredness by a willful departure from truth.”
Today’s featured piece, Landscape, is an idyllic pastoral scene painted in the years surrounding the Civil War. Durand painted this work after the war had ended, appropriately showing the small human figure and contented cows at peace with the land. The conventions of Italianate landscapes—framing trees, sunlit middle ground, and distant mountains—Europeanize the American scene.