There’s only a few weeks left to visit George Inness in Italy at the Taft Museum of Art downtown. The show, organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, features several stunning canvases made by the master of Tonalism during two formative trips to the Italian countryside. The exhibition also allows the viewer to witness firsthand the maturation of an artist.
Over time, Inness gradually abandons the polish of the academic tradition in favor of a personal vision of dynamic surfaces and active brush strokes. As a result, works such as 1874’s "L’Ariccia, Italy" ripple with energy. Inness’ paintings were sometimes criticized as studio-bound concoctions that didn’t always reflect the reality of the environments he painted. A true artist, Inness knew that the demands of the painting were always more important than a slavish reproduction of the visible world. His work offers an object lesson for young artists addicted to the easy flow of ready-made imagery provided by the internet: The source of creativity is the imagination of the artist.