Oil on canvas
17 x 13 1/4 in.
signed and dated l.r. : W.T. Richards 1860
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Purchase with funds provided by the Council
Richards was one of the first Americans to associate himself with Pre-Raphaelitism, an art movement founded in England in 1848, and his picture Woodland Glade exemplifies Pre-Raphaelite aesthetics. The small, vertically organized picture situates the viewer deep in the woods, surrounded by dense foliage. The scene is almost overwhelming in its attention to detail: Each plant species is carefully delineated, and each green surface captures the light in its own way. But Richards offers relief from this visual abundance by opening the composition to reveal a narrow pathway that leads toward a sunlit pasture in the distance.
This procession through space carries metaphorical significance: Adherents of Pre-Raphaelitism believed that divine understanding must begin with the close study and contemplation of nature. By seeking to know nature in its smallest and most intimate particularities, one could eventually find their way to spiritual illumination.
—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)