A blot-lake with boat, surrounded by trees

Alexander Cozens British

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 690

This view of a lake with bushes and trees in the foreground and a low horizon in the distance is an example of what Alexander Cozens called an ink blot. The artist began with a vague pictorial idea in his mind and then quickly dashed and smudged black ink onto a sheet of paper with a thick brush. The overall composition was intended before the blot was begun, but the details were meant to rely on the swift and tendentially accidental movement of the hand and the brush. A blot made this way was to be reworked into a more carefully drawn landscape. The purpose of this technique was to stimulate the imagination of the artist in composing imaginary landscapes. Cozens described the blotting technique in his two publications "An Essay to Facilitate the Inventing of Landskips, Intended for Students in the Art" (1759) and "A New Method of Assisting the Invention in Drawing Original Compositions of Landscape" (1786).

A blot-lake with boat, surrounded by trees, Alexander Cozens (British, Russia 1717–1786 London), Graphite, brush and black ink

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