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Day-light. A recent discovery in the art of painting Ein kunstkritisches Pamphlet des frühen 19. Jahrhunderts

Iris Wien

Online veröffentlicht:

01 Apr 2018



Henry James Richter’s 1817 pamphlet Day-light. A recent discovery in the art of painting; With hints on the philosophy of the fine arts, and on that of the human mind, as first dissected by Emanuel Kant has been read as a plea for naturalism in the context of early-nineteenth-century pleinair painting. The tract prompts painters to take the recently discovered phenomenon of colored shadows into account instead of basing their painterly practice on pictorial conventions. Although noticed, the peculiar form of the little treatise – consisting of thirteen pages of a fictive dialogue between artists and extensive notes devoted to fundamental epistemological questions – has not been further scrutinized. In the light of the sociopolitical conflicts of the time, however, the pamphlet takes on an allegorical dimension exceeding its art-critical objective.

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