Choose a link to explore
Have a look round

Discover the Permanent Collection Room 2

Aberdeen Art Gallery - Permanent Collection Room 2

With the start of the 20th century came the most important artistic movements in Europe. In France, towards the end of the 1800s, the Realist paintings of the Barbizon School - studies of ordinary people in ordinary settings - gave way to working in colour and light.  Impressionism aimed to capture a moment in time.

Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley painted changing weather conditions on the spot.  To try to capture the real effects of light, the Impressionists introduced broken pigment - the application of brush strokes of pure colour – to create a vivid sense of the image.

This new style led to blocks of shape and exciting colours in landscapes and still lifes of Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse.  These artists work influenced the Scottish Colourists: S.J. Peploe, F.C.B. Cadell, G.L. Hunter and J. D. Ferguson. The birth of abstract art can also be traced  in the Cubist paintings of Fernand Leger and Henri Hayden. Modern Art had arrived.

Eastre, Hymn to the Sun, 1924 - John Duncan Fergusson © The Fergusson Gallery, Perth & Kinross Council, Scotland (2004)This brass sculpture by John Duncan Fergusson is called Eastre, Hymn to the Sun, and was made in 1924. Eastre is the Saxon Goddess of Easter who represents the triumph of the sun after the gloom of winter.

This artist placed great emphasis on light and colour in his painting. The original head was carved by Fergusson in plaster, not in clay as is the usual method. This gave sharp edges to the planes of the head.

At the time, artists had an interest in industrial processes and machines. This interest was reflected in a hard-edged crisp geometry of form. Only one cast was made in brass during the artist's lifetime but in the early 1970s his widow authorised a further eight casts from the plaster.