William McTaggart : landscape, meaning and technique
This thesis alms to provide an interpretation of McTaggart's work within a discussion of critical discourse in British art, referring In particular to the relative values of content and technique, in the second half of the nineteenth century. The first section contains an overview of the critical approaches to McTaggart's work from early career to the present day, centred upon how the notion of "impressionist" has been applied to McTaggart. This Is followed by an examination of some of the broad determinants of McTaggart's career, such as patronage and his relationship with Academic establishment. Section II deals with content In landscape art, looking first at the status of landscape In British art. It examines how content was dealt with in Scottish landscape painting prior to McTaggart, and how McTaggart's choice of painting locations addressed traditions of Scottish landscape. The notion of the "poetic" landscape Is advanced as an appropriate Interpretation of McTaggart's approach. Within this, specific Influences upon McTaggart, such as that of J.E. Millais and 3.C. Hook, are studied. In Section III, the Issue of technique Is examined. Again, McTaggart's work is set within a framework of critical values, outlining the importance of technique in critical debate in the late nineteenth century. The extent to which McTaggart may have come Into direct contact with French Impressionism and contemporary colour theory Is questioned and the way in which the concepts of "Impressionism", "effect", "finish" and "unity" were discussed, and the extent to which they can be applied to McTaggart's work, are appraised. The concluding section suggests that, despite apparent polarisation of form and content in critical debate, the fusion of technique and subject was still an important aesthetic standard. The inter-relation of content and technique in McTaggart's landscape art is examined within two case studies.