CANADIAN PRAIRIE WATERCOLOUR LANDSCAPES

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 THE ENGLISH NOVELTY  

JOHN ROBERT COZENS, The Cloud, c. 1785.

JOHN ROBERT COZENS, b. 1752, d. December 1797, continued his father's work in imaginative landscape compositions; his most important contribution was to demonstrate that watercolor landscapes can convey far more than mere topography. His brooding, almost menacing drawings of mountains, clouds, and atmospheric effects, such as alpine storms and mists foreshadow the work of J. M. W. Turner, John Constable, and Thomas Girtin. Constable observed that "Cozens was all poetry." The younger Cozens brought to watercolour landscape an air of sublimity and an emotional content that, through its influence on other artists, made it a major development in English painting. In his own painting of a cloud, the sense of a tinted ink wash drawing has given way to a subtle sensation of atmosphere evoked by light and colour.


TERRY FENTON