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The Heir apparent to the great J.M.W. Turner
The Art Journal, 1860.

In 1857, Church was 31 years old, at the height of his powers, eclipsing all others as,

The Michaelangelo of Landscape Painting.

Technical Ingenuity

Rocky Forest Pool 1857 demonstrates again, Church's superior and improving technical skills especially in his use of translucent glazes and impasto (thick paint) used here in his depiction of flowing water.

'Church - like Turner - skilfully manipulates his brushstroke so that the movement of the paint itself coincides with the movement and shapes of the water and rocks being depicted.'

The rocks, the Light off the foaming water and the transparency of the clear limpid pools (Milton's,'crystal lake') show considerable development from his earlier work such as Scene on the Catskill Creek 1847 and Tequandama Falls 1854.

In painting The Natural Bridge Virginia 1852 he shows clearly his admiration for Ruskin and 'Ruskinian correctness' because for the first time he demonstrates complete mastery in painting and depicting, rock. The trees, woodland and sky of this (similar sized) picture are painted with the same techniques, colors and brushwork as those he used in Rocky Forest Pool 1857.

By 1855 with The Andes of Ecuador Church's first epic landscape 'he had perfected, unique effects of atmosphere and diffused sunlight' (using impasto for the central brook) but none of Church's paintings until now show that he completely understood or knew how to paint the flow of water convincingly. It was his greatest challenge which he finally conquered with, Rocky Forest Pool 1857 and, Niagara in 1857. Church's depiction of the flow of water and Light on the Water in Rocky Forest Pool 1857 is now perfected 'where the water washes the rock, the colour is lightish-yellowish brown, warm dry rock-grey and brownish but warm. We have never before seen it so perfectly represented' wrote, The Crayon about the water in Niagara in 1857. It is equally true of Rocky Forest Pool 1857. In 1852, The Natural Bridge Virginia 1852 was the first painting he showed publicly in Britain at the Royal Academy.

The interest in Britain for Church's work grew to the point when following the exhibition of The Heart of the Andes 1859 The Art Journal proclaimed him,

'The Heir Apparent of the great J.M.W. Turner.'