Asher Brown Durand, A River Landscape, 1858
Oil on canvas, 32 x 48 in. (81.3 x 121.9 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd, 1993.35.8
In his influential series of articles titled “Letters on Landscape Painting” (1855), Asher B. Durand summarized his view that the faithful depiction of nature could reveal the presence of God: "I refer you to Nature early, that you may receive your first impression of beauty and sublimity, unmingled with the superstitions of Art—for Art has its superstitions as well as religion—that you may learn to paint with intelligence and sincerity—that your works shall address themselves to intelligent and sympathetic minds, and spare you the mortification of ever seeing them allotted to swell the lumber of the garret and the auction room. . . . The humblest scenes of your successful labors will become hallowed ground to which, in memory at least, you will make many a joyous pilgrimage, and, like Rousseau, in the fullness of your emotions, kiss the very earth that bore the print of your oft-repeated footsteps." [Asher Brown Durand, “Letters on Landscape Painting,” The Crayon 1, no. 3 (January 17, 1855)]
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