National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Moonlight on the Yare John Crome (artist)
British, 1768 - 1821
Moonlight on the Yare, c. 1816/1817
oil on canvas
overall: 98.4 x 125.7 cm (38 3/4 x 49 1/2 in.) framed: 122.4 x 149.9 x 9.2 cm (48 3/16 x 59 x 3 5/8 in.)
Paul Mellon Collection
1983.1.39
On View
From the Tour: Britain's Royal Academy of Art in the Late 1700s and Early 1800s
Object 1 of 8

Crome, from Norwich in east central England, learned to paint by copying pictures in local private collections. Landscapes by his countrymen Gainsborough and Wilson intrigued him, as did the Dutch old masters such as Hobbema and Van Goyen. Significantly, Rembrandt van Rijn's famous The Mill, of around 1645, then belonged to a Norwich collector and was displayed twice in London during Crome's life.

Moonlight on the Yare, which Crome probably exhibited at the Norwich Society of Artists in 1817, pays homage to Rembrandt's Mill in both its rustic subject and its bold contrast of light and shadow. The eerie nocturnal radiance, however, owes more to Aert van der Neer. In composing his romantic view of a cloudy night over England's River Yare, Crome followed his own advice: "Trifles in nature must be overlooked ... your composition forming one grand plan of light and shade."

A lively wit with a good business sense, Crome augmented his successful career as a landscape painter by giving drawing lessons and acting as a picture restorer and art dealer. Crome was instrumental in founding the Norwich Society in 1803 and, after 1806, sometimes also sent paintings for exhibition at the Royal Academy in London.

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