‘Saddleback from the South-West’ by C. J. Holmes, 1911 [Ashmolean Museum, Oxford]
A standard art-historical reaction to an artwork (especially one by a modern British artist) is to make it out as little more than the sum of its influences. This might be expressed in terms of a mathematical equation: a + a + a + b ÷ c = d, where a = another work of art/artist, b = subject represented, c = the sensibility of the artist/wider artistic context and d = the original art work. In the case of Charles Holmes’s painting, Saddleback from the South-West
, we could flesh that out as follows:
(a) Constable and English landscape painting + (a) Hokusai, Korin and Japanese prints + (a) Gauguin and Post-Impressionism + (b) The Lake District ÷ (c) Charles Holmes in 1911 = (d) Saddleback from the South-West.
Or, in visual form: Continue reading