Cader Idris, with the Mawddach River

Cader Idris, with the Mawddach River

c. 1774

Richard Wilson

(British, 1714-1782)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 105.5 x 120.5 x 7 cm (41 9/16 x 47 7/16 x 2 3/4 in.); Unframed: 89.8 x 105.5 cm (35 3/8 x 41 9/16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1989.52

Description

In the distance the peak of Cader Idris is shown, while riders in the foreground descend toward the river Mawddach. Although almost all of Wilson's earlier pictures of Wales suggest some association with that country's heroic past, here the emphasis is on the pleasing beauty of the land. Another version of this picture is in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.
Richard Wilson was the first major British artist to specialize in landscape, a focus he pursued intently after a visit to Italy in 1750-6. The countryside around Rome, with its rich associations of ancient grandeur, inspired him to look at landscape as a source of poetry. Back in England his Italian landscapes, which appealed to his patrons (mostly English noblemen) were a great success. He then applied a similar approach to his English and Welsh scenes, treating them as vehicles for ideas and emotions.

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