Saturday, July 11, 2015

Washington Allston

Italian Landscape
oil on canvas
111.8 x 183.0 cm   
Toledo Museum, Ohio, USA
for more paintings of this artist
art group of Imaginary-Museum

Washington Allston (1779-1843) was an American painter and poet, born in Waccamaw Parish, South Carolina. He was commonly held to be the first important American Romantic painter. He is known for his experiments with dramatic subject matter and his use of light and atmospheric colour. He was sometimes called the "American Titian" because his style resembled the great Venetian Renaissance artists in their display of dramatic color contrasts. His work greatly influenced the development of U.S. landscape painting. Also, the themes of many of his paintings were drawn from literature, especially Biblical stories. His artistic genius was much admired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Ralph Waldo Emerson was strongly influenced by his paintings and poems.

Named in honor of the leading American general of the Revolution, he graduated from Harvard University in 1800. He studied in London at the Royal Academy. During this period he became friendly with the writers Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Washington Irving. He spent the years from 1808 to 1811 in Boston. He then spent in London and returned to Boston in 1818, finally settling in Cambridgeport, Mass., in 1830.  He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1826.

Before his final return to the United States, his art was dramatic and large in scale. After his return to Boston in 1818 his art became quieter, striking a new note of reverie and fantasy. He was also a published writer. Some of his poems were popular in his day. His theory of art was posthumously published as Lectures on Art, and Poems (1850).