Nathaniel Hone, Cumulus and Sea

2017 052 006 V0001Nathaniel Hone (Irish, 1831–1917), Cumulus and Sea, n.d., oil on canvas, 8 x 12.5 inches (canvas). Gift of the Donald and Marilyn Keough Family, 2017.052.006

Born and raised in Dublin into a family of artists, Nathaniel Hone abandoned his career as a railway engineer to pursue art. He moved to Paris in 1853 and remained there for seventeen years. Initially, he studied with the academic artist Thomas Couture and made frequent visits to the Louvre to sketch after the masters. He later travelled to Barbizon and worked in the company of Jean-François Millet, Camille Corot, Théodore Rousseau, and Henri Harpignies studying nature and painting landscapes. When he returned to Ireland, he introduced this naturalist approach to landscape to his compatriots. He became a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and taught the next generation of modern artists in Ireland.

           

This little sketch of stormy weather conditions over a dark sea falls into a long line of similar exercises begun by John Constable at the beginning of the century. The purpose is to try to record the fleeting effects of light as it filters through dense clouds and glints off churning water to create dramatic color harmonies. It is an example of the growing appeal of the sketch aesthetic in the mid to late nineteenth century that characterizes modern art.

 

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