Study of Rocks

John William Casilear American

Not on view

Casilear probably made this drawing during one of his sketching trips through the White Mountains. The practice of drawing from nature was advocated by the British critic John Ruskin, whose writings were popular in the English-speaking world. Although Casilear’s drawings of rocks were ultimately inspired by Ruskin’s emphasis on the beauty and visual interest of geological formations, two of the rocky outcroppings on this sheet recall illustrations by James Duffield Harding, a British artist whose drawing books were advertised in “The Crayon” in the 1850s. Casilear was undoubtedly familiar with the writings of his friend, the landscape painter Asher B. Durand, who recommended that students devote themselves to drawing simple objects such as “a fragment of rock, or trunk of a tree.”

Study of Rocks, John William Casilear (American, New York 1811–1893 Saratoga Springs, New York), Graphite on off-white Bristol board, American

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