Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon | Thomas Girtin | 1797
Thomas Girtin is generally included in the British romantic landscape artists, next to artists like JMW Turner, John Sell Cotman or James Whistler. Until their time, the only kind of paintings accepted in the artistic circles was oils. However, characters like Girtin took the watercolor painting to a new level. Thanks to them, this art form was acknowledged and respected.
In Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon, we see the construction from a trail next to a little creek. I’ve found a similar angle in Google Maps ®, but the surroundings, naturally, have changed; and the castle is, even, in worse conditions. In Girtin’s painting, the composition, although confuse and unbalanced, is strangely interesting. There is no clear division between the dull colors of the foliage and the castle. The latter seems to be too much integrated to the landscape and its straight-structural silhouette is clear when contrasting with the random shapes of nature.
History tells that Girtin and Turner became friends at a young age, as they were both artists and had the same age; but, as they devoted themselves to the same type of painting, they became artistic rivals. Girtin couldn’t achieve the technical mastery of his friend, because he died at 27. As an adult, Turner remembered him and remarked: “Had Tom Girtin lived I should have starved”.