Through the Ages: A Depiction of Travel in Art
The unprecedented scope of travel and tourism in the world was born in the 17th century. This led to the dominance of European landscape art during the period. Henceforth, the realm of travel didn’t merely lie in the powerful hands of kings, queens, and traders but also others who began to traverse the globe in search of new horizons. Geographical exploration was on its ascent and colonial expansion was in its hay days. There was, however, still a dilemma: did the traveller set out to paint, or did the artist set out to travel?
Explorers, travelers, and adventurers during the time hadn’t witnessed the invention of the camera and thus used mediums of sketching and painting to document places. Combining skill, observation, and an eye for detail they would create the scenes that they had witnessed on their adventures on canvas. These journeys would last for several months unlike modern weekend trips allowing these explorers to immortalize unfamiliar languages, landscapes, and cultures. They would then carry these works of art back home to show their families, friends, and those who didn’t have the resources to travel.
Fast forwarding to the mid-19th century, Edward Lear had began traversing across distant lands and painted their eccentricities after teaching Queen Victoria to wield a paintbrush. He was different to those who ventured before him in the sense that he was a definitive artist rather than a trader, sailor, soldier or explorer. His livelihood was dependent on his works of art. He was a pioneer in the sense that he had unshackled the gates to a new world of art. He submerged himself in the cultures of Italy, Albania, Greece, Egypt, and India mirroring the raw forms of his reflections. Paintings and depictions of sceneries and landscapes were no longer intended for any ulterior motives but the mere reason to portray beauty.
Flipping through the pages of the next century, the masterpieces of Matisse, Derain, and Picasso portraying European destinations are crystal clear. The style had altered significantly though. The art was bold and bright which screamed of the artists’ apparent styles in comparison to the beige sketches of the old. At this juncture of time, art was doorway to the thoughts of artistic geniuses rather than the previous medium to share objective scenes and stories from across the globe.
Artists started getting inspired by the unattended corners of the world, thus stimulating deep feelings and critical thought which they chose to share with the world. For instance, Matisse’s works may not have depicted the exact landscape of Cuillère, but his thick brush strokes and brash colours certainly provided his thoughts on the French town.
Toddlers and young children, in particular, have a natural inclination to conjure their free-flowing and unrestricted thoughts on paper albeit with less precision. Their imagination knows no boundaries at such young ages and only becomes more vivid. However, their elders must encourage their habits of observing the beautiful aspects that nature has to offer. Elders on the other hand, develop a realistic perspective in terms of art creation. They then tend to impede their drawing ability by trying to enforce this. According to researchers, there are very few adults who understand how to teach drawing to young children. Therefore, travel along with observation allows these profound imaginative processes to diverge, sharpen, and grow in strength.
It’s true that artistic depictions of places provide portals into architectural styles, cultures of local life and customs, but more importantly they reveal a narrative of the personal journeys that artists embark on. The narrative involves their profound thoughts and feelings that are inspired by their experiences of travel where the journey is more important that the destination for both adults and children alike.
The vital importance of art and its continued presence in a child’s life is something Bluefish Tales understands and takes very seriously in its design process. Our endeavour is to look at the world through the lens of a child’s mind and compose a close replica on paper.
Blue Fish is the result of grit, unbelievable talent and persevering hard work of one girl who dared to dream it big and give a concrete image to her vision that got the world charmed. Started initially by Nidhi Wadhwa, as a studio for illustrations needed in children’s books and the likes, Blue Fish has now diversified into a diaspora of every possible related spectrum needing aesthetic distinction. We’ve been in business since over fifteen years now, having ties with many top publishing houses and satisfied clients in a vast foray of fields like textile, home decor and furnishing, animation, clothing lines, stationery, etc..
Until next time, happy traveling!