The Easel

20th July 2021

Rubens: Reuniting the Great Landscapes at Wallace Collection review – Let’s keep them together

When Rubens retired and was painting for his own pleasure, he produced not his signature fleshy figures but … rural views. Two such landscapes – painted as a pair – have been hung together for the first time in 200 years. Described as masterpieces and being entirely by Rubens, they reveal something about his mindset. They are “grand but also cosy” says one critic. Rubens’ saw his life as one of “autumnal plenty”.

Have you heard of Nikolai Astrup?

Astrup is apparently more popular in his native Norway than Munch! He painted Nordic landscapes with lashings of colour, “generalized forms” with details on top. What elevates his work is its intensity and drama, something the writer ascribes to Astrup’s self-doubt. Astrup’s hometown popularity is thus not due to “sentimental nationalism”. And his obscurity elsewhere is testimony to an artist caught in the “obscure eddies of the art-historical mainstream”.