The English school of painting was officially recognised at the beginning of the 18th century through the work of William Hogarth. It includes works by the most famous English artists, such as Thomas Gainsborough, Joseph Mallord William Turner, John Constable, Edward Burne-Jones, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. This subject is introduced with a very unique text, published in 1882: a French study of English pictorial art. The author, Ernest Chesneau, was highly-cultured, an art historian and inspector of Fine Arts. He explains the beginnings of this school which excels in portraiture and landscapes, and reminds us of the English brilliance regarding watercolours, not forgetting to include the work of the Pre-Raphaelites.
Ernest Chesneau (1833-1890), writer and critic, was secretary to Nieuwerkerke, the Fine Arts administrator. He acquired a small painting by Manet in 1864 and later gave qualified support to the new art of the Impressionists.
A friend and admirer of John Ruskin, he was deeply concerned with the relationship between art and society. He was one of the first to recognise the merits of Manet and immediately picked up the connection between the Déjeuner sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass) and Raphael.
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