Cambridge Nature Festival 2023

26th May – 2nd July

Events and activities to be added soon.

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True to Nature Art Exhibition: Open-air Painting in Europe 1780-1870

May 29, 2022 - August 29, 2022


Eugène Decan (1829 – after 1894), Corot at his easel, Crècy-en-Brie, oil on canvas, The Fitzwilliam Museum, bequeathed by John Tillotson, 1984, received 1985, PD.132-1985

Photograph copyright © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

An integral part of art education in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, open-air painting was a core practice for emerging artists in Europe. Intrepid painters such as Camille Corot, John Constable, Simon Denis, Jules Coignet, and André Giroux—highly skilled at capturing effects of light and atmosphere—either studied landscapes that were close to their homes, and their hearts or made arduous journeys to paint breathtaking sites ‘in the field’, from the Baltic coast and Swiss Alps to the ruins of Rome. Drawing on new scholarship, this exhibition of some 120 or so oil sketches made across Europe explores the variety of inventive ways in which artists recorded fleeting moments in nature, experienced at first-hand. Crucially, the display will highlight developments in natural sciences during the period, from mineralogy to meteorology and volcanology, each seeking, like the painters in the exhibition, to reveal ‘truths’ about the world we inhabit.


The Fitzwilliam Museum
01223 332900
View Organizer Website


The Fitzwillam Museum
Trumpington St
Cambridge, CB2 1RB United Kingdom
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01223 332900
View Venue Website