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Sensation and Sensibility - Bermingham, Ann - Yale University Press
  • Oct 20, 2005
    208 p., 9 x 11
    30 b/w + 100 color illus.
    ISBN: 9780300110029
    Cloth: $70.00 tx
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Art and Architecture
History

Published in association with the Yale Center for British Art and The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens 
 

Sensation and Sensibility

Viewing Gainsborough's "Cottage Door"

  • Edited by Ann Bermingham
      REVIEWS             PREVIEW             CONTENTS             EXCERPTS      

Late in his career Thomas Gainsborough became preoccupied with the theme of the cottage door, and he created a group of paintings and drawings that show rustic figures clustered around the open door of a cottage set in a deeply wooded landscape. Often seen as exemplars of the rural idyll, these works were among the first landscape paintings to reflect the eighteenth-century aesthetic of sensibility. As a way of seeing, sensibility valued nature for its innocence and simplicity, and images, such as Gainsborough’s cottage subjects, for their power to move the viewer.

This lovely book brings together the cottage door paintings and essays that discuss Gainsborough’s departure from the more naturalistic style of his earlier career and that place his new concern with sentimentalism and artificiality in the context of sensibility and the growing interest in expressive, even sensational, visual spectacles. To this end, contributors to the volume investigate new viewing practices associated with sensibility, the meaning of the cottage for Gainsborough and his contemporaries, the artist’s creation of affecting landscapes through the use of peasant subjects, and his theatrical treatment of these subjects in order to heighten his viewers’ emotional responses.

Ann Bermingham is professor of the history of art and architecture at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of Learning to Draw, published by Yale University Press.

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens (February 11 – May 14, 2006)

Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (October 6 – December 31, 2005)

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