TASK: Describe the impact on you of ONE of the paintings viewed on our tour – talk about how it has opened up your understanding of the key issues of the period we are studying!
I went to the NSW Art Gallery today (Saturday, 9 April) and the painting that I think resonated with me the most was one in the South End of the first room, called “The Golden Splendour of the Bush” (1906) by W. Lister Lister.
In terms of Australian Literature, this painting opened up my understanding of the key issues in this time because it serves as evidence of the evolution of how Australia was seen and depicted by artists. When you consider earlier works, (for instance, John Glover’s “Patterdale Farm” ), it’s obvious how the earlier painters were painting Australia more like an English garden and it’s almost like they were enforcing their ideal landscape onto reality, when they couldn’t have their ideal landscape of an English countryside. It could be they missed England so much that they were trying to pretend they were back there, or perhaps they didn’t like Australia all that much at that point in time. But by the time “The Golden Splendour of the Bush” was painted, it was clear that Australia was now valued for itself and for what it was by the time Federation had occurred. The colours in this painting are softer in tone and look more natural, compared with the earlier paintings of bright green, white, blue, etc. to portray that look of an English garden, again showing that the Australian landscape was now being appreciated for what it was, instead of the pretend English garden the early white settlers were pretending it to be.