A Fisherman on the Banks of a River, a Church Tower in the Distance
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From the Collection
While this scene on a riverbank offers up a vivid range of sense impressions—pale sky, blue haze at the horizon, soft air, a sighing breeze—it is also tinged with nostalgia, perhaps best embodied by the fisherman in the right foreground. His gaze may be directed at the hoped-for fish at the end of his line, or at the tall tree on the opposite bank, which rises up as a tour de force
of watercolor handling and mark-making. Bonington sometimes deployed materials and techniques from oil painting, which watercolor purists would have rejected as alien to the medium, to add to the depth and complexity of his compositions. Here, opaque gouache lends greater solidity and weight to some of the landscape elements.