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Jacqueline Colliss Harvey

[Claude Lorrain glass]

A small mirror, slightly convex in shape, with its surface tinted a dark colour. Carried in the hand, it was used by artists, travellers and connoisseurs of landscape and landscape painting. It has the effect of abstracting the subject reflected in it from its surroundings, reducing and simplifying the colour and tonal range of scenes and scenery to give them a painterly quality, similar in appearance to the work of Claude Lorrain, hence its name. A larger variant, which could be fixed to the side of a carriage window to reflect the passing scenery, also appears to have existed.

The Claude glass could be used either as an aid for painting, enabling the artist to assess the relative tonality of a particular scene, or simply in order to appreciate the scenes reflected in it. It is an interesting example of Art subduing Nature to its own purposes, especially as the viewer had to turn his back—both physically and metaphorically—on the ‘real’ landscape he wished to view. Not surprisingly, the greatest vogue for its use occurred during the days of European travel and the Grand Tour in the Romantic period at the end of the 18th century. In his biography of Thomas Gray (...

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Marisa J. Pascucci

Terms applied to painters who had studied at either of the two academies in Germany where numerous American artists sought painting instruction. In the mid-19th century some of America’s most esteemed artists studied at the German art academies in Düsseldorf and Munich. By the end of the 19th century hundreds of American artists in search of the latest artistic styles and techniques were working and training at both academies.

The Düsseldorf school of painting refers to a group of painters who taught or studied at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie (now the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf) between the 1830s and the 1860s. During this time the Kunstakademie was held in high esteem throughout Europe and the USA. Rather bohemian in direction, days were filled with classes in drawing and color and also history and anatomy, with nights devoted to socializing centered around reading and discussion. Directed by the painter Schadow family §(3) and artists following the ...