One of William Trost Richards’s early landscapes, In the Woods helped to establish the artist as a leader of the American Pre-Raphaelite movement. Probably painted in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, during the summer of 1860, the canvas displays the exactness for which Pre-Raphaelite painting was known. From the veins on the leaves in the foreground and the individual blades of grass, details are rendered as precisely as possible. Following John Ruskin’s advice, Richards sought to imitate nature as closely as he was able; replicating the original pattern of God’s creation, his aim was to represent perceived truth as the highest form of artistic beauty.
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